Brad Messer Commentary • KTSA • Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Mel on Indecency

I've been put off by the big radio companies' phoney kowtowing to the politicians over indecency.

Our own company, Viacom, sent urgent communiqués to managers all over the country. The message was essentially "if you let something indecent onto the airwaves, it's your job, and don't expect no stinking severance pay either."

In the current storm of political frenzy, I've been confused. Yesterday there was a story about a man being admitted to a hospital because of an erection that lasted so long it was a medical threat to his health. Is it permissable to report that on the radio now?

Well, yesterday, our big head wazoo, Viacom President Mel Karmazin, told it like it is. According to Broadcasting & Cable dot com, he told Senator Sam Brownback that the FCC keeps making "multiple course corrections" and takes "months, or even years, of deliberation" to decide on indecency complaints. President Mel said the FCC has a "vague, generic indecency standard" and issues "often-conflicting rulings."

He's dead right and I'm glad he said it. There's way too much political posturing and strutting about, and way too little clear guidance about what the First Amendment does and doesn't allow. Now I wish the Clear Channel head wazoos would have the guts to say the same thing, which they know is true.

Brad Messer Commentary, KTSA.


Broadcasting & Cable 3/16/2004
Karmazin Says Stern Not Indecent

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