Higher Broadcasting Indecency Fines

By: Amanda O'Neal
By: Amanda O'Neal

It will now cost broadcasters a lot of money if they don't keep the airwaves clean. A new broadcast decency bill makes sure of that.

In an effort to crack down on indecency on television and radio, President Bush signed a bill that increase fines from $32,500 to $325,000.

"This new bill doesn't differentiate between someone who makes a once-in-a-lifetime slip or somebody who makes a living by pushing the envelope," said Ben Downs, Bryan Broadcast General Manager.

Downs owns several local radio stations and believes the fine is excessive. He's concerned it could end up putting small stations out of business. He says FCC decency guidelines are hazy.

"There's never been a discussion at the FCC about what constitutes indecent language. You're dealing with a situation where some people might be offended by something and say it's indecent, where another person wouldn't even give it a second thought," said Downs.

Leslie K decides what songs are aired at Candy 95 FM. She plays it safe by airing what's called "super clean" edits whenever possible.

"We're just kind of living in a gray area where we just have to use our best judgment and what we think our listeners are looking for," said Leslie K.

KBTX General Manager Mike Wright says stations should get credit for being proactive in decency standards. For example, KBTX voluntarily installed a delay system for live programming. Even still, local stations do not have total control.

"While KBTX certainly wants to uphold local standards of decency and will do all we can to do that, there are times we simply don't have control because of what the network sends to us," said Wright.

Many parent groups say the increase in fines was long overdue and think it's a great start to more family friendly programming.


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