The BDEA (Broadcast Indecency Enforcement Act), which passed in the U.S. House of Reps last month, has finally reached the senate floor! As predicted by many WFMU clairvoyants, some extra sinewy bones have been added to the original BDEA soup, effectively elevating its caloric value to infarction-triggering heights.
Yes, some silly silly people thought that it would be prudent to not only increase the maximum fine for an indecent broadcast to half a million bucks, but to also extend the FCC’s regulatory shadow far and wide across the nation’s televised landscape. With a snappy title, "Indecent and Gratuitous and Excessive Violence Broadcasting Control Act of 2005," ex-senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC) introduced the bill on Monday, with co-sponsors Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and John Rockefeller (D-WV) at his side.
If adopted, this new legislation would allow the FCC to regulate violence on TV in addition to the tired rigamarole of sexual and excretory references. As if that weren’t enough, the bill also drops cable and satellite TV into the FCC’s open hands, subjecting these subscription services to the same vague indecency standards in place for normal broadcast stations.
Additionally, the bill instates a barrage of new content warnings (lasting 30 seconds and repeated every 30 minutes of the broadcast!) for programs that walk the decency tightrope, and doubles the current required amount of childrens’ programming. We’re guessing (hoping) that the changes commanded by this bill are far too sweeping to be accepted by the Capitol tastemakers.