Goodbye Good Programming
When one thinks of original, successful radio shows in the U.S., one show definitely comes to mind, Howard Stern. The Howard Stern morning radio show has been the most successful radio show on the radio for some time now. Howard Stern created a show unlike any other; it is a morning radio show that has it all. The show has interviews with famous people, listeners can call in to the show with there opinions, current news, and most notably its sexual content and controversial opinions on what is happening in the world we live in. The show has always pushed the limits of freedom of speech while at the same time opened new doors and ideas within the limits. Currently in our country this show has become under fire by our government and is very close to being taken off the airwaves. This is just one show that is in jeopardy of being taken off the air.
Recently our government through its administrative agency for communications, the FCC, has decided to send a message to the corporate media to clean up their broadcasts. The FCC defines indecency as:
1. An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.
2. The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law.
3. The material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
The fine for broadcast indecency has been raised to $275,000.00 from $27,500.00 per instance. The problem that has arisen from this new interest in cleaning up broadcasts to protect the general public from being exposed to this indecency is that some of our best programming is in jeopardy. There are some huge corporations behind this programming such as Time Warner, Viacomm, Clear Channel, etc. these corporations are becoming concerned that the government is starting to focus attention on how big they have become and how much power they have to control the media.
Unfortunately, because of this new motivation to control our programming to the FCCfs liking one avenue of our freedom of speech is being taken away from us. The public programming we currently have is perfectly acceptable and almost to conservative. Itfs not like we have one TV or radio station that everyone is forced to watch. If you donft like what your watching or listening to you can just change the channel or turn it off. There are also a lot of parental controls available that prevent kids from watching shows of adult content but ultimately it is the parents responsibility to monitor and control what they want their children to watch or listen to. I think the government is over stepping there bounds here and trying to control what our society is consuming from the media.
At the same time I feel corporate media is almost a monopoly. There are only a handful of major companies that control all facets of our media. They have to much control over what is broadcast to our society and all of these companies basically are part of a community that has standards that all abide by. These standards have been adopted by our society and give this monopolistic force the power to mold and structure what our society watches and listens to having great influence on what we are led to believe. With this new push from the government these corporations are becoming nervous that they may be broken down and regulated; hence, losing their power and a lot of their money.
This new interest in what our society is being broadcast has started a chain reaction that is in the end only going to penalize and deprive us of original, creative and controversial programming. The corporations are now on the defensive and doing anything to keep themselves from being split up and regulated. They are now trying to act as the governmentfs agent and do the dirty work of singling out programming to deem inappropriate and unacceptable for our society. What is happening is that we are moving towards having programming that will be based on a very conservative view and only on one interpretation of the law of indecency. The government is going after what they believe is a problem in the wrong way. What they need to do is go after this corporate monopolistic community and break them apart. If the playing field is leveled there will be more competition and new programming will arise, programming that will be aimed at the benefit of our society.
Something needs to be done and fast. Our government was created to protect the interest of all the people who live in this country, and the constitution was constructed to protect the people from our government. We cannot let our government rewrite our constitution to meet there interests. Our right to freedom of speech is one of the most important rights we have and we cannot sit here and let it be taken away or altered.