A noncommercial station in Lexington, KY recently cancelled “The Writer’s Almanac” program, because the show features a short segment by public radio’s most crass troglodyte, Garrison Keillor, who dared to utter the word “breast” and the phrase “getting high” in one episode. For some reason, WUKY received no complaints about the broadcast, but the station’s upstanding management pulled the show, anyway. This is hard evidence that the FCC’s 2004 indecency fine-o-rama has instilled so much fear in broadcasters (especially noncommercials with small budgets) that they are reaching miles beyond the actual definition of indecency to censor any content that could potentially upset the most uptight, angry, letter-writing prude in their listening area. Last I heard, we could still talk about drug use and the tastiest part of a chicken here in America... WUKY finally came to their senses after receiving an outpouring of comments from disappointed listeners.
Smackfest Smacked Down
New York station Hot 97 was ordered by Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to pay $240,000 in fines for broadcasting a contest called “Smackfest,” during which entrants repeatedly slapped each other to win prizes. The contest was deemed dangerous and illegal, as it defied a state law that requires permits and the presence of trained referees/medical professionals for combative sporting events.
'She Be She' Strike Revisited (minus stoned janitor)
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is in the midst of yet another worker dispute. This time, 5500 employees were locked out after negotiations failed to resolve a dispute over the corporation's use of non-permanent contract workers. Check out Tod Maffin's CBC Unplugged blog for updated news from the picket line.
On the Air, Out of the Closet
As part of an on-air prank, Univision Radio outed a gay man on a national Spanish language radio program. The stunt involved a phone call to the victim from a man he had allegedly met in a gay bar, and as soon as the victim asked for the decoy's phone number, it was revealed that the conversation was being broadcast live on the radio. The victim, who is gay, but was not yet out to his family or coworkers, was awarded with $270,000 for economic damages and emotional distress.
A new study of Jack-FM fans has revealed what they like best about the new format: music genre variety, lack of talk, and hearing songs they recognize. What do Jack fans hate? Long, unbroken blocks of music.
Thumb Up... No Luck
A contest sponsored by a commercial station in Tampa, FL had 3 listeners dressed up as escaped convicts attempting to hitchhike back to the studio during the morning rush. Unfortunately, the only ride they got was in a police car. The cops intervened after several drivers called in to report that 3 people in prison uniforms and shackles were causing a traffic jam. The contestants were released, and no charges were filed against them or the station.
More radio headlines from the past month on Beware of the Blog:
- Read up on the famously fab NY DJ Frankie Croker
- Get the dirt on payola investigations
- Click here for a laundry list of law-dodging DJs
- The sordid history of DJ-stalkers... don't get any ideas
- Download MP3s of scripted and pre-recorded radio "interviews" with rock and roll's heavy-hitters
- Clear Channel ganks Jack
- The FCC opens an indecency investigation of Howard Stern