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Congress Presses For Stronger Indecency Enforcement

Congress Presses For Stronger Indecency Enforcement

All kinds of broadcast indecency was discussed in a congressional hearing that was originally held to focus on TV. The hearing in the House Energy and Commerce telecom subcommittee comes a day after the commission proposed what it termed its “largest ever” fine for broadcast indecency.
The $755,000 fine for Clear Channel stemmed from several incidents related to its “Bubba the Love Sponge” show aired on many Florida facilities.
At the hearing William Wertz, executive vice-president and co-owner of Fairfield Broadcasting Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, testified, “We’re a long-time Broadcast licensee (1972-current)…asking for direction from an FCC that seems not-to-want-to-take-on Infinity’s “stunts” or, more specifically, issues that many of those of us in the industry consider to be beyond generally accepted community standards.”
Fairfield owns and operates 4 radio stations, WQLR(FM), WQSN(AM), WKLZ(AM) and WKZO(AM), all licensed to Kalamazoo.
FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief David Solomon credited current chairman Michael Powell for several improvements to indecency enforcement.
“Most prominently, the commission has increased the dollar amount of indecency enforcement substantially. Including actions anticipated in the near future, during the past three years, this commission will have proposed indecency enforcement actions that, in the aggregate, significantly exceed the amount proposed during the prior seven years combined under the prior two Commissions.”
Solomon cited the chairman’s support for a bill introduced by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., calling for a 10-fold increase in the maximum indecency forfeiture permitted by the Communications Act.
Clear Channel has proposed the formation of an indecency task force, to sort out what would and would not be appropriate for on-air use.