Community Media/KRUU FM/Book/Volunteer Handbook/Appendices
- 1 KRUU FM VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK: APPENDICIES
- 1.1 APPENDIX I: LOG SHEET
- 1.2 APPENDIX II: PRA SHEET
- 1.3 Appendix III: Security Log Sheet
- 1.4 APPENDIX IV: INTERVIEWERS RECORD FORM
- 1.5 APPENDIX V: KRUU VOLUNTEER AGREEMENT FORM
- 1.6 Appendix VI: Radio Code of Ethics
- 1.7 APPENDIX VII: An Introduction to Indecency
- 1.8 APPENDIX VIIi: Test Your IQ: INDECENCY QUOTIENT
- 1.9 NOTES
KRUU FM VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK: APPENDICIES
APPENDIX I: LOG SHEET
APPENDIX II: PRA SHEET
The PRA Sheet Thursday
Show Name Time PRAs to be played:
El Bus de las 7 7am – 11am
Supersoul Thursday 11am – 12noon
SP162-F SPRING DRIVE 2006 APRIL 6, 13, 20!!! BrownBagger 12noon – 1pm
Sound Resistance! 1pm – 2pm SP162-F SPRING DRIVE 2006 APRIL 6, 13, 20!!! 411 Seniors 2pm – 2:30pm
Broken Records 2:30pm – 4pm
It Takes a Village 4pm – 5pm
SP162-F SPRING DRIVE 2006 APRIL 6, 13, 20!!! Kla How Ya FM 5pm – 6pm
SP163-MF WORLD PEACE FORUM APRIL 6, 13, 20!!! Nofa 6pm – 7pm
Fruit Salad 7pm – 8pm
SP162-F SPRING DRIVE 2006 APRIL 6, 13, 20!!! The Lesbian Show 8pm – 9pm
SP163-MF WORLD PEACE FORUM APRIL 6, 13, 20!!! Arts Rational 9pm – 10pm
SP162-F SPRING DRIVE 2006 APRIL 6, 13, 20!!! Better Days 10pm – 12midnight
SP160-2M FUTURE PAST HOOTENANNY APRIL 6, 13, 20!!! Art of Beatz 12midnight – 2am
Appendix III: Security Log Sheet
Vancouver Co-operative Radio, 102.7FM Security Log – Sign-in Sheet
In order to prevent theft and maintain personal security in the station, everyone entering or leaving the station must sign-in and –out below. Anyone not signed in will be asked to leave. Thank you!
FULL NAME (Please Print Clearly)
APPENDIX IV: INTERVIEWERS RECORD FORM
Interviewer’s Name: _____________________________
Person(s) Interviewed: __________________________________________
Time and Date: ____________
If the topic of the interview was political or is a contentious issue in the community, interviewers are required to make a documented attempt to interview other sides of the issue.
I have called or I am planning to call ___________________________
on (date) _________ and (time) ___________.
Who did you speak with? ________________________
Made a plan to do an interview on (date, time & place): ________________________
They declined the interview (ate and time): ___________________
Please place this form in the Public File at KRUU.
APPENDIX V: KRUU VOLUNTEER AGREEMENT FORM
KRUU VOLUNTEER AGREEMENT
All volunteers wishing to participate in the operations of KRUU – whether on or off the air –should understand the principles, philosophies, policies, and governance structures that underpin the entire organization. This information is contained in the Volunteer Handbook, which is available to all interested persons according to their areas of interest of involvement. As a volunteer-operated organization, KRUU relies on the passion, responsibility, and personal initiative of members like you. We thank you for sharing your time.
On-air volunteers should be aware of the general guiding principles of KRUU, as well as the duties and responsibilities specific to on-air operations. Certain FCC regulations and station policies apply only to broadcast operations and must be adhered to at all times; therefore, on-air volunteers have duties and responsibilities above and beyond other volunteer staff. All Programmers must have completed the required training in production or on-air work, and be certified by the station management.
1. I, ____________________________________ (name), the undersigned volunteer for KRUU, have read KRUU’s Volunteer Handbook, fully understand the duties and responsibilities required by being a Programmer for the KRUU volunteer staff and agree to comply with all policies and guidelines presented therein.
2. I understand that my work will be reviewed from time to time by the Station Manager and Programming Committee.
3. At any time, with two weeks’ notice, I am entitled to a review session with the Station Manager and any other appropriate individuals, including a member of the Personnel Committee or personal advocate if I so choose. The purpose of such a session would be: (a) to obtain helpful and constructive feedback on my work as a volunteer, and (b) make me aware of any serious concerns held by staff, management or other volunteers regarding my volunteer activities.
4. I agree to obtain permission from the Board of Directors before acting as a spokesperson or agent for KMUD, and before using KRUU’s name in association with any public event or activity.
5. I agree not to be impaired by alcohol or controlled substances while performing volunteer activities for KRUU.
Telephone: ___________________________ Alternate phone: ___________________________
Signed: __________________________________________ __________________ Volunteer or Parent/Legal Guardian Date (if Volunteer is under 18 years of age)
I, the undersigned, believe that the above-signed Programmer possesses the full understanding and capabilities necessary to perform the functions of a volunteer Programmer at KRUU.
__________________________________________ __________________ Station Manager Date
Appendix VI: Radio Code of Ethics
Text of the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Electronic broadcasters should operate as trustees of the public, seek the truth, report it fairly and with integrity and independence, and stand accountable for their actions.
Professional electronic journalists should recognize that their first obligation is to the public.
- Understand that any commitment other than service to the public undermines trust and credibility.
- Recognize that service in the public interest creates an obligation to reflect the diversity of the community and guard against oversimplification of issues or events.
- Provide a full range of information to enable the public to make enlightened decisions.
- Fight to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in public.
Professional electronic journalists should pursue truth aggressively and present the news accurately, in context, and as completely as possible. Untrue statements, or statements not supported by evidence, are not protected by the First Amendment and could leave the station open to lawsuit or challenge.
- Resist distortions that obscure the importance of events.
- Clearly disclose the origin of information and label all material provided by outsiders.
Broadcasters should NOT: ( Report anything known to be false.
- Manipulate images or sounds in any way that is misleading.
- Present images or sounds that are reenacted without informing the public.
Broadcasters should present information fairly and impartially.
- Treat all topics and people with respect and dignity.
- Seek to understand the diversity of their community and inform the public without bias or stereotype.
- Present a diversity of expressions, opinions, and ideas in context.
- Broadcasters should present facts with integrity and decency, avoiding real or perceived conflicts of interest, and respect the dignity and intelligence of the audience.
- Identify sources.
- Clearly label opinion and commentary.
- Use technological tools with skill and thoughtfulness, avoiding techniques that skew facts, distort reality, or sensationalize events.
- Use surreptitious techniques, including hidden cameras or microphones.
- Disseminate the private transmissions of other news organizations only with permission.
Broadcasters should NOT:
- Pay sources who have a vested interest in being represented on-air.
- Accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek to influence broadcasting.
- Engage in activities that may compromise their integrity or independence.
Broadcasters should defend the independence of the station and its volunteers from those seeking influence or control over content.
- Gather and report information without fear or favor, and vigorously resist undue influence from any outside forces, including advertisers, sources, news subjects, powerful individuals, and special interest groups.
- Resist those who would seek to buy or politically influence content or who would seek to intimidate those who gather and disseminate facts.
- Determine news content solely through editorial judgment and not as the result of outside influence.
- Resist any self-interest or peer pressure that might erode service to the public.
- Recognize that sponsorship will not be used in any way to determine, restrict, or manipulate content.
- Refuse to allow the interests of ownership or management to influence content inappropriately.
- Defend the rights of the free press for all broadcasters.
Broadcasters should recognize that they are accountable for their actions to the public, the station, and themselves.
- Actively encourage adherence to these standards by all broadcasters.
- Explain broadcasting standards to the public, especially when practices spark questions or controversy.
- Recognize that broadcasters are duty‐bound to conduct themselves ethically.
- Carefully listen to volunteers who raise ethical objections, and create environments in which such objections and discussions are encouraged.
- Adapted from the Code of Ethics of the Radio and Television News Directors Association for interim use at KRUU
APPENDIX VII: An Introduction to Indecency
by John Crigler, Garvey Schubert Barer
John Crigler is an owner, Communications Group at Garvey Schubert Barer in its Washington D.C. office. He can be reached at 202-965-7880, or jcrigler at gsblaw dot com. The information presented here is intended solely for informational purposes and is of a general nature that cannot be regarded as legal advice. Please consult a communications attorney if you have questions about the application of the indecency standard to particular situations.
MY STATION IS IN LOS ANGELES. COMMUNITY STANDARDS ARE DIFFERENT THAN IN BELL BUCKLE, TENNESSEE. DOES THAT PROTECT ME?
No. The standard applied is a national standard based upon what the Commission believes to be indecent. MY STATION IS COMPLETELY ORIENTED TO AN ADULT AUDIENCE. IF WE GET A COMPLAINT, CAN’T WE SIMPLY SHOW THAT CHILDREN DON’T LISTEN TO OUR STATION?
No. The FCC has taken the position that all broadcast stations must comply with its indecency policy, no matter what their target audience. The only defense that the FCC will consider is a study which shows that there are no children listening to any station in the market at the time the indecent material THE ON-AIR STAFF AT MY STATION REALLY TOE THE LINE. WE MAKE SURE THAT NONE OF THE PATTER GOES TOO FAR. SOME OF THE SONGS THAT WE AIR ARE A BIT ON THE RACY SIDE, HOWEVER. THE COMMISSION DOESN’T FINE STATIONS FOR AIRING NATIONALLY-DISTRIBUTED RECORDINGS BY WELL KNOWN ARTISTS, DOES IT?
It sure does. It fined a station $25,000 for airing “Candy Wrapper” (a song in which various candy bar names symbolize sexual activities) and the Monty Python song “Sit on my Face,” which contains the lyrics “Sit on my face and tell me that you love me... life can be fine, if we both sixty-nine.” The Commission fined a Las Vegas station $2,000 for airing a Prince song that repeatedly used the word “fuck.”
MY STATION HAD NO INTENTION OF AIRING ANYTHING INDECENT. SOMEHOW, A CONVERSATION BETWEEN MY DJ AND A CALLER GOT A LITTLE BIT BAWDY. THE COMMISSION WOULDN’T FINE ME FOR THAT, WOULD IT?
Yes, it would. The Commission has repeatedly rejected arguments that the indecency policy interferes with the spontaneity of talk or call-in shows. Although the Commission has stopped short of requiring that all sources of broadcast programs install delay systems, it has strongly “encouraged” networks and broadcast stations to “undertake such technological measures,” and has noted that delay/bleeping systems can now block fleeting words with “ease.”
A STATEMENT MADE BY THE DJ WAS A ONE-TIME THING. HE SAID AN OFFENSIVE WORD ONCE, REALIZED WHAT HE HAD DONE AND MOVED ON TO A TOTALLY DIFFERENT TOPIC. DOESN’T THE COMMISSION RECOGNIZE THAT PEOPLE ARE HUMAN AND MIGHT SLIP UP NOW AND THEN?
That notion now seems quaint. In the past, the Commission dismissed complaints which merely cited the broadcast of isolated words or phrases, and stated that it would “not necessarily” take action against “the isolated use of unplanned expletives during live coverage of news or public affairs programs.” Any tolerance the Commission once had for fleeting or isolated instances ended with the Golden Globe decision. That decision puts everyone on notice that even a single occurrence of a single expletive may be a violation of indecency standards.
A DJ AT MY STATION NEVER ACTUALLY USED ANY “DIRTY” WORDS, BUT HE DID A HILARIOUS SKIT BASED ON INNUENDO. THE COMMISSION CAN’T GET US FOR THAT, CAN IT?
It sure can. Material may be indecent even if it does not contain graphic descriptions of sexual activity. An indirect allusion may be deemed offensive “if it is understandable and clearly capable of a specific sexual or excretory meaning which, in context, is inescapable.” WIOD (AM), Miami was fined $10,000 for airing material such as “Butch Beer,” a satiric commercial which, in the Commission’s view, contained an “unambiguous .... lesbian theme.” A station’s humorous or ironic intent is not a defense. In fact, the Commission has emphasized that the broadcaster’s intent is irrelevant. The only issue is whether the material is or is not indecent.
WE BROADCAST A DISCUSSION ABOUT THE USES OF CONDOMS. SOME OF THE LANGUAGE IS PRETTY GRAPHIC. DOESN’T THE COMMISSION RECOGNIZE THAT A STATION SHOULD AIR PROGRAMMING THAT IN OTHER CONTEXTS COULD BE CONSIDERED INDECENT?
The Commission’s definition of indecent programming explicitly recognizes that context is important. Material contained in political advertisements, news and public affairs programs has been found not to be offensive because of “context.” For example, the Commission denied a complaint against a political ad in which a mayoral candidate opposed the incumbent’s proposal to buy a clock for the City Hall with the rallying cry, “clocksuckers.” It rejected a complaint against a segment of “All Things Considered” featuring a wiretapped conversation with reputed gangster John Gotti, in which he repeatedly used variations of the word “fuck.” It also denied a complaint against the telecast of a high school sex education class. But context is not an easily defined concept, nor a sure-fire defense. The Commission fined a station $4,000 for a program in which two DJs read from and commented on a Playboy interview with Jessica Hahn. In that ruling, it rejected arguments that the DJ’s remarks were essentially news commentary and warned that “while the newsworthy nature of broadcast material and its presentation in a serious, newsworthy manner would be relevant contextual considerations in an indecency determination, they are not, in themselves, dispositive factors.” The Commission reached a similar conclusion in fining station KRON-TV, San Francisco, $27,500 for an interview with performers in a stage production of “Puppetry of the Penis.” During the interview, included in the morning news program, one of the performers exposed his penis.
I DOUBT THAT ANYBODY WOULD TUNE IN TO A DISCUSSION OF SAFE SEX JUST TO GET THEIR KICKS. I THOUGHT THAT THE COMMISSION WAS ONLY INTERESTED IN THE PANDERING SKITS THAT SOME OF THE DRIVE-TIME DJS ENGAGE IN.
Not true. Material may be indecent even if it is not pandering or titillating in nature. Songs such as “Penis Envy,” “Makin’ Bacon,” and “Erotic City,” were held to be indecent because they contained lewd sexual references, even though those references may not have been titillating. In one instance, the Commission found that a licensee had aired indecent programming when it broadcast excerpts from a critically acclaimed play about a person dying of AIDS.
DOESN’T THE MERIT OF A PROGRAM COUNT FOR SOMETHING?
The merit of a program is a factor to be assessed in determining whether a program is indecent, but the Commission has said that merit is “simply one of many variables, and it would give this particular variable undue importance if we were to single it out for greater weight or attention than we give other variables.” The Commission refused to issue a declaratory ruling that James Joyce’s Ulysses was not indecent, and denied a complaint against a reading from Ulysses primarily on grounds that the reading occurred in the safe harbor period. No indecency complaint has yet been denied solely on the grounds that the material was meritorious.
HOW DO I KNOW IF A COMPLAINT HAS BEEN FILED AND WHO’S OUT TO GET ME?
You may not know the answer to either question. Complaints can be filed anonymously and are not required to be served on the subject of the complaint. If FCC staff determine that the complaint raises an issue of whether indecent material was broadcast, they will send a letter of inquiry asking the station to confirm or refute the allegations made in the complaint.
If the FCC concludes that a violation has probably occurred, it issues a Notice of Apparent Liability (“NAL”) which proposes a fine. The station is given a chance to contest the NAL. Based on the station’s response, FCC staff will rescind or modify the NAL, or issue a Forfeiture Order.
HOW SOON AFTER A BROADCAST DOES A COMPLAINT HAVE TO BE FILED?
When the FCC adopted the expanded definition of indecency in 1987, it said that complaints should be filed “promptly” after the incident. It has not strictly enforced that requirement, however, and has accepted complaints filed more than a year after the incident.
YOU MEAN THERE ISN’T ANY STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?
There is, but it could be as long as eight years – the length of a license term. The rules prohibit a forfeiture “if the violation occurred more than one year prior to the issuance of the appropriate notice or prior to the commencement of the current license term, whichever is earlier.” In effect, complaints can be filed at any time during an 8-year license term.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OBSCENITY AND INDECENCY? THEY SOUND THE SAME TO ME.
There are several important legal distinctions, but here are the basics. Indecent material: (1) need not be pornographic, i.e. it need not appeal to “prurient interests”; (2) the indecency standard is based on “contemporary standards for the broadcast industry,” a national rather than local standard; (3) the indecency law is enforced by the FCC, rather than criminal law authorities; (4) there is no “safe harbor” period for obscenity, i.e. obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment; and (5) the “merit” of a work is an absolute defense to a charge of obscenity, but only one “variable” in the determination of whether the work is indecent.
IS PROFANITY SOMETHING DIFFERENT FROM EITHER INDECENCY OR OBSCENITY?
Yes. The relevant statute prohibits the broadcast of “obscene, indecent, or profane” material. The FCC’s decision to regulate “profanity” is new, however. In the Golden Globe decision, the Commission found that even if the “F” word used by Bono was not indecent, it was profane, and could be regulated as “vulgar, irreverent or coarse” language. The Commission defined profanity as language that denotes “personally reviling epithets naturally tending to provoke violent resentment or denoting language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance.” The Commission will apparently regulate profanity during the same hours as indecency.
GOSH (IF I CAN STILL SAY THAT), WHAT ELSE?
Well, possibly violence. The FCC may investigate the effectiveness of the v-chip installed in new TV sets, and explore additional ways of regulating violent content on TV – and possibly radio.
HOW DOES THE FCC DETERMINE WHAT FINE TO IMPOSE?
The FCC has considerable discretion to set fines, and will consider such factors as the extent and gravity of the violation, any history of past offenses and the ability to pay. Currently, the maximum fine for a single violation is $27,500. This fine can be multiplied if the violation occurs in more than one program, or if a program is aired on more than one station. The Commission has also made it clear that, in the future, it will impose fines for each utterance of an indecent word. Thus a single program may now result in multiple fines.
Even more commonly, the Commission has announced that it may, in appropriate circumstances, initiate a proceeding to revoke a broadcast license, and that it may consider indecency violations in deciding whether to renew a broadcast license.
WHAT SORT OF PREVENTIVE MEASURES CAN I TAKE? Solutions will vary from station to station, but here are a few general suggestions:
- Adopt a station policy about indecent and profane material;
- Educate all on-air and production staff about that policy;
- Screen all recorded material before it is broadcast;
- Institute a delay system for high-risk live broadcasts;
- Investigate any violation of station policy immediately; and
- Take swift disciplinary action if there is a violation of station policy.
SHOULD I CALL THE FCC IF I DISCOVER THAT INDECENT MATERIAL HAS AIRED ON OUR STATION OUTSIDE OF THE “SAFE HARBOR” PERIOD?
No. The FCC doesn’t ask stations to report indecent broadcasts, but it does expect them to take immediate remedial action. Fines may be substantially reduced if a station can show that it took unprompted disciplinary action against those who aired indecent material.
HOW DO I KEEP TRACK OF FCC DECISIONS?
The FCC publishes a useful guide to indecency law and a catalogue of recent indecency decisions on its web site. http://www.fcc.gov/eb/broadcast/opi.html.
Expect more: more FCC rulings, more Congressional authority to regulate content and more severe penalties for violations of content-related regulations. Indecency complaints are likely to increase, as are the sizes of indecency fines. The definition of indecency may be stretched even further, and profanity may emerge as an entirely new form of regulated content. Content regulation is back. Stay tuned.
This Indecency Primer is published by Garvey Schubert Barer. It contains information of a general nature that cannot be regarded as legal advice. Please consult a communications attorney if you have questions about the application of the indecency standard to particular situations. You may contact John Crigler by e-mail at jcrigler at gsblaw dot com or call him at 202-965-7880.
APPENDIX VIIi: Test Your IQ: INDECENCY QUOTIENT
This Indecency Quiz was created by John Wells King, a law partner in the Communications Group of Garvey Schubert Barer in Washington DC, and is sponsored by Jacobs Media, a Detroit-based Radio Consulting Firm. Mr. King can be reached at 202/965-7880 or email@example.com.
The material presented here is intended solely for informational purposes and is of a general nature that cannot be regarded as legal advice. Please consult a communications attorney if you have questions about the application of the indecency standard to particular situations.
What’s your Indecency IQ? Be an FCC Commissioner-for-A-Day and test your knowledge about how the FCC interprets and enforces the indecency rule. Twenty-five correct answers qualifies you as a Master of Indecency. One wrong, and you’re guilty of an indecent utterance, for which you could be fined up to $32,500 ($500,000, if Congress has its way). More than three wrong, and you’ve sunk into the Indecency Quagmire—you risk possible revocation of your license.
1. The FCC is concerned only about “bits,” routines, and call-ins or call-outs that dwell on sexual content, like the couple that “coupled” in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
FALSE. The law applies to the broadcast of any obscene, profane, or indecent material.
2. The FCC will slam me for cussing in Czech.
TRUE, theoretically. The law is not limited to obscene, profane, or indecent material broadcast in the English language.
3. It is okay to use “code words” for body parts and sexual acts.
FALSE. Innuendo that persists and is sufficiently clear to make the meaning inescapable may be indecent.
4. Profanity counts even if it goes out over the air by mistake, like if a mike is left on.
TRUE. The mere fact that specific words or phrases are not sustained or repeated does not mean their utterance is not indecent.,
5. There is an exception for profanity that comes from practical jokes station personalities play on each other.
FALSE. The law applies to the broadcast of any obscene, profane, or indecent material.
6. Even though listening drops off significantly after afternoon drive, the FCC still cares about indecency in the evening hours.
TRUE. The broadcast of indecent matter is prohibited between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
7. What “plays” in Philadelphia may not in Fresno, so where a station is located has an impact on whether a broadcast is indecent.
FALSE. The contemporary community standards to which the definition of indecency refers are not local, but are national, in scope. The standard is that of an average broadcast viewer or listener, not the sensibilities of any individual listener or viewer.
8. Song titles mentioned on the air, like “Fuck It,” are not exempt from indecency prosecution.
TRUE. There is no exception for song titles to the prohibition on the broadcast of indecent matter.
9. There is a limited exemption for lyrics of songs, like “Fuck what I said it don’t mean shit now,” so long as they are sung or spoken by the artist performing the song.
FALSE. The prohibition on the broadcast of indecent matter applies to statements made by air personnel, comments made by callers-in, or lyrics sung or spoken by an artist, live or recorded.
10. The FCC has a news exemption for serious reporting of bona fide news events, so profanity heard in the background of a report on a rock concert would not be subject to prosecution.
FALSE. The indecency law makes no exception for news coverage. Context is important, however, and the FCC could conclude based on all the facts that the utterance was not patently offensive.
11. Even if a joke or bit has a genuine association, like celebrating Thomas Crapper’s birthday with some toilet humor, the FCC could come down on it.
TRUE. Depending upon whether the material, taken as a whole, in context, was patently offensive, the FCC could find it to be indecent.
12. There is no need to worry about lyrics in “classic” songs like “Louie Louie.”
FALSE. If song lyrics are understandable and are found to be patently offensive, they may be indecent.
13. The FCC distinguishes between a live broadcast of, for example, a rock concert, and the broadcast of a concert previously recorded. There may be no excuse for profanity heard in the recorded version since it can be edited for broadcast, but the live broadcast is forgivable.
FALSE. The FCC makes no distinction between a live and a recorded broadcast in evaluating whether broadcast material is indecent.
14. A little indecency could be regarded as an acceptable risk from a cost-benefit standpoint, if the show is profitable.
FALSE. The FCC can levy up to $32,500 for each indecent utterance, on each station on which the utterance was broadcast. For serious and repeated offenses, the FCC can initiate license revocation proceedings. Congress may up the ante to as much as $500,000 per violation and may require a license revocation hearing after three fines.
15. Under the First Amendment, air talent cannot be personally fined for indecent speech.
FALSE. The Communications Act prescribes conditions for imposing personal liability for a monetary fine for a violation of the indecency law.
16. If a listener wrote me upset about my telling an off-color joke on the air, I don’t have to report her complaint to the FCC.
TRUE. Stations are not required to report the broadcast of matter that may be indecent.
17. A listener sent an Eminem recording to the FCC that he claimed he heard on our station, but since we play only edited “cleansed” versions of popular music, we won’t be fined.
NOT NECESSARILY. The issue may devolve into a question of proof. If a station cannot provide satisfactory evidence of the broadcast of edited versions of music that may be deemed indecent in unedited form, the FCC could find that indecent material was broadcast.
18. The FCC won’t even give you a break if something that was said on the air is a double entendre, or has a double meaning, one of which is “clean.”
TRUE. Merely because the material consists of double entendre or innuendo does not preclude the FCC from making an indecency finding, if the sexual or excretory import is unmistakable.
19. Double entendres in a foreign language are safe, like “Están cambiando el aceite” (“they’re changing the oil” for a couple having sex).
FALSE. The indecency law and FCC analytical guidelines apply to all broadcast matter regardless of the language in which it is spoken.
20. The FCC will probably give us a break if we’re the obvious target of a malicious letter and email-writing campaign resulting in hundreds of identical complaint “forms” being sent in.
FALSE. The origin of a complaint has no impact on the central question whether a broadcast is indecent. One person’s email campaign is no different than one listener’s letter.
21. The FCC will excuse exclamations uttered by winners on a live call-in contest line, like “Holy shit!”
FALSE. The extraordinary circumstances of an utterance will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and the FCC has warned that use of blasphemy or coarse, vulgar language could expose a station to liability.
22. One of the infamous Seven Dirty Words has now become so accepted and commonplace in our language that it has been taken off the list.
FALSE. The FCC maintains no “list” of prohibited words. The “Seven Dirty Words” were brought together in a monologue by comedian George Carlin. The FCC has, however, said broadcast of the F word and its variants will, depending on the context, be regarded as indecent or profane.
23. If one morning show contains six different indecent “utterances,” the FCC will consider fining the station for six violations, not just one.
TRUE. The FCC reserves the discretion to fine a station not just for the broadcast of a program containing indecent matter, but for each indecent utterance within a program.
24. If a morning show is syndicated on 50 stations, an indecent episode might result in 50 prosecutions, not just one.
25. If it’s a network broadcast, the FCC won’t go after the local station.
FALSE. If a complaint about network material is made against a local station, the fact that the material was not locally-originated is not relevant to the question whether the broadcast was indecent.