Policing the Airways: Free Speech vs. Indecency

  • How would you define indecency?

I believe everyone has their own interpretations of indecency. I would define indecency as anything that someone would find offensive and since that is open to interpretation it is hard to define. Some people are offended by somethings that other people do not notice.

  • Should the government set decency standards for radio programs? Do you agree with the FCC’s standards on indecency?

I don’t have a problem with the government setting standards for radio. I am an advocate for free speech, but some things need to be regulated. I do not have a huge problem with profanity, as long as it is not used in any type of vulgar way. I do have a problem with hate speech, and I believe that should be heavily screened. For the most part, I do agree with the FCC’s standards on what is and is not indecent.

  • What kind of indecent language do you hear on the radio? What channels and programs seem to have more, and when are these shows on?

The majority of radio I listen to is sports talk and NPR, so I rarely hear indecent language. Occasionally some idiot will call into the sports stations and get the host riled up. He might slip an “ass” or “shit”, but nothing beyond that. I can say I never hear anything on FM that I would consider indecent. They do a good job of censoring everything. There are some people who walk the fine line indecency that I hear about. I know that Rush Limbaugh dances around with racism and sexism every afternoon. My guess would be that the programs that would have more indecency would be the programs where hosts have a platform to speak and they do what they can to drive ratings; mostly talk radio or the morning zoos on FM from 6-10.

  • What is the right balance between free speech and decency standards?

I believe that  there is no such thing as a right balance because you cannot make everyone happy. The way the FCC currently runs is appropriate. I do not see the big deal with them protecting the airwaves.

  • Should the FCC’s indecency rules apply to Internet radio? Why or why not?

I do not think the FCC should bother with Internet radio. It is a lost cause trying to police the Internet since there are constant changes within it. There are new shows every hour, I believe it would be far too difficult for the FCC to catch up. The FCC should stick with terrestrial radio.

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