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Topic: thanks janet: FCC sucks big time

  1. #1

    thanks janet: FCC sucks big time

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    more on the FCC flap from newsblues.com:


    More than two dozen ABC affiliates have announced that they won't take part in tonight's Veterans Day airing of "Saving Private Ryan," fearing the film's violence and language could draw sanctions from the FCC.

    The decisions mark a twist in the conflict over the aggressive stand the FCC has taken against obscenity and profanity since Janet Jackson flashed the world during the last Super Bowl half time show.

    Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning movie aired on ABC with relatively little controversy in 2001 and 2002, but station owners — including several in large markets — are unnerved that airing it Thursday could bring federal punishment.

    "It would clearly have been our preference to run the movie. We think it's a patriotic, artistic tribute to our fighting forces," said Ray Cole, president of Citadel Communications. The company owns WOI-5 in Des Moines, KCAU-9 in Sioux City and KLKN-8 in Lincoln, Neb.

    Other stations choosing to replace the movie with other programming include Atlanta's WSB-2; WFTV-9 in Orlando; WFAA-8 of Dallas; WGNO-26 of New Orleans; WCPO-9 of Cincinnati; WSYX-6 of Columbus, WISN-12 of Milwaukee; WSOC-9 of Charlotte; WVEC-13 of Norfolk; WMUR-9 of Manchester, N.H.; WHAS-11 of Louisville; and KVUE-24 of Austin.

    They are owned by a variety of companies, including Cox Television, Tribune Broadcasting, Hearst-Argyle Television, Belo Corp. and Sinclair Broadcast Group. The number is expected to increase today, and some are speculating that ABC may be forced to take further steps before broadcast time (8-11 p.m.)

    "We regret that the FCC, given its current timidity in dealing in this area, would not grant an advance waiver, which would have allowed stations like ours to run it without any question or any concern," Cole said. "We have attempted to get an advanced waiver from the FCC and, remarkably to me, they are not willing to do so."

    The FCC has made it clear that any airing of the F-word is considered inappropriate for broadcast television.

    The first half hour of "Saving Private Ryan" includes a brutally violent depiction of the D-Day invasion. The film also contains extensive profanity. The network's contract with director Spielberg stipulates that the film cannot be edited.

    According to Cox's Atlanta station general manager, Greg Stone, the company asked ABC for permission to edit the film or air it outside prime time but was turned down.

    ABC has told its affiliates it will cover any fines, but group owners are worried that the network can not protect them against other FCC sanctions.

    Profane speech, which is barred from broadcast between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., is defined by the FCC as language that is "so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance," or epithets that tend "to provoke violent resentment."

    The guidelines say the context in which such material appears is of critical importance.

    Cole cited recent FCC actions and last week's re-election of President Bush as reasons for replacing "Saving Private Ryan" with a music program and the TV movie "Return to Mayberry."

    "We're just coming off an election where moral issues were cited as a reason by people voting one way or another and, in my opinion, the commissioners are fearful of the new Congress," Cole said.

  2. #2

    Re: thanks janet: FCC sucks big time

    I hate the FCC. In all fairness however, this is more about paranoid corporate leaders than the FCC. As it was stated, they've aired Saving Private Ryan twice before with no controversy. The fact that they're nervous about it now is just as much an indication of their own parnaoia as it is a stricter FCC. The FCC hasn't even said anything about it....have they?

    Thank God for cable.
    Michael Peter

    If music be the food of love...
    play on

    William Shakespeare


  3. #3

    Re: thanks janet: FCC sucks big time

    Yet another reason why we need LESS GOVERNMENT in our lives.

  4. #4

    Re: thanks janet: FCC sucks big time

    I agree with Brady for once. Yet I have a feeling that we'd disagree over what to leave out.

  5. #5

    Re: thanks janet: FCC sucks big time

    That one of the stations will be airing Return to Mayberry just about sums it up.


  6. #6

    Re: thanks janet: FCC sucks big time

    abc just ran story on worldnews tonight- NO comment from the FCC.
    yeah a lot of paranoia from coorportae types. but who wants to be made a example with 6 figure $$ fines. the FCC needs to clarify its position.
    meanwhile the rest of civilization will move to cable and satelite

  7. #7

    Re: thanks janet: FCC sucks big time

    "meanwhile the rest of civilization will move to cable and satelite"

    Don't forget that you don't get a national feed for ABC on cable or satellite. You get a re-transmission of the local affiliate. If your local affiliate doesn't show Private Ryan, you won't see it on cable or satellite either.

    Don't expect that to change either. Your local Ford dealer wants you to see their commercials. If the guy in Charlotte gets his Fear Factor direct from New York, he might just order his next truck from a guy in Brooklyn.

    Localism benefits us local slobs too. If there's a leak at the downtown chemical plant, you can bet that WTF-TV will pre-empt the national feed to run the breaking news. The couch potatoes in Queens would rather keep watching Raymond.

    I think the problem is that the FCC doesn't have a process for exempting shows from fines. Powell doesn't have the power to grant such an exemption, and there's no FCC meeting scheduled with Private Ryan on the agenda. So, regardless of what you think of the FCC, there's not much they can do, short of calling an emergency session.

    I hope that they can put together an exemption process soon. The broadcasters need to know where they stand.

    In the meantime the affiliates should have the gumption to show the film. Cowardice is not the solution.


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