Television companies better have deep pockets in 2005. Uproar in censorship of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) started when Bono from U2 said, "f***** brilliant" at the Golden Globes and when Janet Jackson's breast appeared in the Super Bowl. Suddenly FCC chairman Michael Powell is suddenly taking on government regulation of content. This is interesting because Michael Powell was a chief investor in the theory of de-regulation in media. These two exploits forced congress to take action in the form of fines, ranging from $27,500 in the beginning, to $3 million that we see in mid-2004.
Howard Stern finally received his first fine in six years, after many shows with ultra-vulgar content which went unchallenged. Even NPR radio announcer Tsing Loh was fired after dropping an accidental F-word during a broadcast. The FCC is taking the "reality" out of TV and making it blander. The FCC organization has enforced these rules unevenly, proposing $4.5
million in fines since 1990, $2.5 million of that against Stern. The problem is there is no line in place as to what can be said, and what not to say. Will every word have to be put under scrutiny and analyzed? Is the cut-off mark for safe radio, where a 5 year old can view it at any hour of the day? The industry will just have to wait and see exactly how far they can go, and how lenient the FCC will be with these new rules.