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The FCC Censorship Fix is In!

A single one of these new fines will kill an independent station like KBOO. Last year, KBOO successfully defended itself against the FCC racking up more in legal fees than the fine would have been. This article says the existing fine of $27,500 "is paltry compared to the profits many television and radio station owners earn," but that aint so for KBOO.

There has already been a chilling effect. After the Janet Jackson "incident," the news department discussed and decided to cut the more "earthy" comments I'd recorded covering the Gay Marriage debate -- Andy Seaton, KBOO reporter
Our man Brownback (at home in China)
Our man Brownback (at home in China)
Senator Says Deal Near to Up TV Indecency Fines

Sept 23, 2004

By Jeremy Pelofsky

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers are near a compromise on legislation that would significantly raise the penalties for television and radio broadcasters that violate decency standards, Sen. Sam Brownback said on Thursday.

The Kansas Republican declined to detail how much the maximum fine could be but said the compromise was tracking a measure the Senate passed in June, a bill that would increase fines to as much as $275,000 for the first incident and up to $3 million a day.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to boost fines to as much as $500,000 per violation.

Both bills would require federal regulators to decide whether to revoke a station's license after three violations.

"We've gotten together on a basic outline on what we would put forward in this and I think there's a good chance we're going to be able to get this done this year," Brownback told a news conference on the impact of television on children.

The current maximum fine is $27,500 per incident, which lawmakers and regulators have said is paltry compared to the profits many television and radio station owners earn.

The compromise is expected to be worked into a bill to reauthorize defense programs, which has a chance to pass this year and win the signature of President Bush.

The renewed push to bolster fines for indecent acts on broadcasts -- a campaign in part led by Brownback -- came after singer Janet Jackson (news) exposed her bare breast during the television broadcast of the Super Bowl football championship game in February.

"That's kind of the one where everyone said, 'that's it, I've had it, no more,"' Brownback said.

The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday said it had voted to fine 20 Viacom Inc.-owned CBS television stations the maximum $27,500 each -- a total of $550,000 -- for airing the Jackson incident.

Brownback also said he was unaware of any opposition among lawmakers to adding a provision that would permit the FCC to also impose penalties against individuals for such incidents without first giving them a warning.

He also said a provision in the Senate bill to reinstitute stricter limits on media ownership would likely be dropped.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation on Thursday released a survey that showed parents were far more concerned about their children viewing television depictions of violence in Iraq than they were about the Jackson incident.

Almost two-thirds of those polled, or 61 percent, were either very concerned or somewhat concerned about the impact of televised violence in Iraq while 31 percent were very concerned or somewhat concerned about the Jackson episode.

"The medium that parents say they are most concerned about is TV by a fairly large margin," said Vicky Rideout, director of the foundation's program for study of entertainment, media and health. "A majority of parents say they are very concerned about sex and violence on TV."

Broadcasters are banned from airing obscene material, and can air material that could be indecent -- such as descriptions or depictions of sexual or excretory organs or activities -- only late at night, when children are less likely to watching or listening.

homepage: homepage: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=638&e=1&u=/nm/20040923/en_nm/media_indecency_dc

curious 23.Sep.2004 16:35

king friday

I'm curious. In the news room did you discuss the incredible harm being done to the nightly news by robert jefferson?
Anyone bring up he used to work for conservative radio japan and feels more comfortable in the npr style of reporting?
Or maybe that he's brought in the ultra conservative, and irrelevant california report at the expense of portland local city hall reporting?

Such as during the snow storm when there was little but weather being reported on one day, a 5 minute piece on pay toilets in LA was aired.
How since he took over there have been three fluff peices on bush from the california report?
Or how if the california report has a segment on the same thing fsrn does, the fsrn piece dies?
Such as a few months ago when fsrn did a negative report on electronic voting, and california report did a 'don't worry everything's fine' type piece, the fsrn story didn't air.

Some of us listen to news online as well as kboo evening news. Evening news is certainly one of the most important slots, and he is being allowed to destroy it.
And as I understand from several friends at the station, a big reason why he's not confronted about this is because of race. Race shouldn't be an issue, if he wants to work at npr let mhim go there.

To King Friday 23.Sep.2004 16:51

Brian Setzler

Go volunteer at KBOO. You should be on the news team.

Robert and the KBOO News 23.Sep.2004 17:55

Andy Seaton

Several things:

I have been listening to KBOO for 5 years and reporting for a year and a half. I definitely think that Robert has improved the evening news at KBOO.

I am the City Hall reporter for KBOO, but have been off the air for for health reasons since an auto accident this summer and an apartment move that is happening this weekend. I will be returning to that beat in the next few weeks. There hasn't been anyone to replace me. As Brian says, come down to KBOO and report. I will be happy to train you myself on all the equipment.

As for the California Report, I have developed an "Oregonian's" distaste of all things Californian. The best newscasts are ones with lots of locally produced reports not CR or FSRN stories. I have noticed less use of CR recently. Given a choice between FSRN and CR, I'd probably pick the CR as it is "slightly" more "local", but would have to listen to the pieces for spin, etc.

I also consider Robert a friend. He came and visited me in the hosptal after my car accident and has always had a kind (or at least helpful) word me. The last thing I would call Robert is conservative; he has absolutely no love (to put it mildly) for George W, whom he's interviewed. Robert did work for Blumberg, among other companies, in Japan, which, you may notice, he doesn't anymore. He has often spoken that he works at KBOO for love, not money. He could easily make 3 times the money (or more) in Japan. I don't always agree with Robert, but I have always respected him, his experience and his advice.

hm 23.Sep.2004 20:53

king friday

hum. I've been listening to kboo for well over 10 years and over the last year or so the evening news has declined. I mentioned some specific instances above, there have been many but after a while I stopped documenting them.

I am not a native oregonian, thought I've lived here over 15 years. I've never even considered the moronic conflict some people here have had with california. And bringing that up has about as much relevance as calling california news local to portland.

Local reporting dropped out well before the summer. In fact when I called robert the day after the pay toilet breaking news story, and asked him what has happened in city hall recently, and why it's not reported on, his response was he can't find anyone to cover local stuff.

He was dismissive and arrogant, and when he asked the question I expected, which is why if I don't want to hear these reports, don't I come down and do the reporting myself, I told him I'm busy running a fact based media hub. To which he laughed arrogantly saying "what, indymedia?"

This is the kind of attitude I expect from a lead with the weather broadcaster apparently with good enough security clearance to interview bush. But not from someone at kboo. Especially someone with power over programming. And even more someone who's salary I've contributed to.

Whether he's befriended people at the station is also irrelevant. I'm sure he's a nice guy when his work isn't being called into question.

And re: "Given a choice between FSRN and CR, I'd probably pick the CR as it is "slightly" more "local", but would have to listen to the pieces for spin, etc. " Maybe you should actually listen to the spin before you make a decision.

Oh. This is what I do:  http://www.pepperface.com

Other ways to help 24.Sep.2004 10:26

a friend

Yeah, there are issues. People have issues, and KBOO has people. All of the above points may be valid, but I also think people need time to make a cultural adjustment. Robert has a lot to think about it terms of KBOO's role in the community and his role in relating to the public. Perhaps these are things he needs to hear and contemplate. Yet I believe we should give people a chance to grow. So even if you are busy with other activities, I encourage you to listen and submit comments--or attend news meetings and speak up. In fact, program evaluations are constant and on-going at KBOO. We need more input on all programs. Feel free to fill one out--periodically!

good point 24.Sep.2004 12:58

king friday

I agree with everything you said.

Though maybe a year of total immersion in a culture is long enough for someone to make an adjustment. If a person still doesn't get it after so long, it's likely time for intervention. Intervention which could be anything from his decisions which effect programming to pass through others before being effected, to firing him.

Something needs to be done however, we are at a crucial point in politics, kboo's voice is very important at this time especially. Allowing it to be compromised should not be tolerated.

I personally feel immediate action is in order. All too often progressive causes are muffled by people being afraid to step on anyone elses toes.

Brownback is a Real Troublemaker for Free Society 11.Jun.2006 06:43

yezbok drahcir

He is going to make a horrible President. The effects of 9/11 will be nothing compared to his reign of terror.