The Federal Communications Commission slapped $495,000 in forfeitures against Clear Channel Communications for broadcasting "indecent" material from The Howard Stern Show. The "indecent" material in question came from an April 9, 2003 broadcast that included "repeated, graphic and explicit sexual descriptions that were pandering, titillating or used to shock the audience." How they can narrow down Stern's "indecency" to one day a year ago today, is completely beyond me. It must have been the only day they listened to his show.
MTV News reports that while a listener complaint came from only one market (Ft. Lauderdale), the FCC decided to penalize Clear Channel for all six of its stations that aired the show - three citations per station at the current maximum fine of $27,500. In response to these forfeitures, Clear Channel has decided to permanently remove Stern from their airwaves.
Clear Channel President and CEO John Hogan issued a statement that read, "Mr. Stern's show has created a great liability for us and other broadcasters who air it. The Congress and the FCC are even beginning to look at revoking station licenses. That's a risk we're just not willing to take. We had hoped to return Mr. Stern's show to the air free from indecent content [after the suspension]. Unfortunately, the FCC's latest action, combined with deafening silence from the Stern show on their future plans to comply with the law, leave us no choice but to abandon the program for good."
Yay for free speech.