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June 10, 2004
FCC "Responds" on Lack of Profanity in Clear Channel Consent Decree
As I noted earlier today, there is an odd absence in the compliance plan the FCC agreed to with Clear Channel (Where's the Profanity?). Strangely, while the compliance plan requires Clear Channel to do many things in the event they broadcast obscene or indecent language, there is no corresponding requirements for action in the event Clear Channel broadcasts profane language, which is one of the categories of language the FCC regulates.
I found this odd, so I called the FCC to ask why the apparent oversight. The response I got was thus:
If issues were to arise about the consent decree then the FCC would review them at that time.
Not a "no comment" but it didn't really answer my question as to why the term "profane" was not included in the first place. Nor does the statement really mean anything. Of course if issues arise you should review them. But review doesn't necessarily lead to action. I can review things all day long and not accomplish a thing, except for the "reviewing."
Even if the review determines that the FCC should have insisted that Clear Channel include "profane" language as triggering disciplinary action on Clear Channel's part, there is nothing the FCC can do about it now. The reason is that such a modification would most likely be seen as modifying the agreement to Clear Channel's prejudice, which would mean the admission of Clear Channel's guilt goes away.
Of course, Clear Channel is free to modify its compliance plan, presumably at will, as long as the FCC is notified 30 days in advance. There is no requirement for public notice either:
Clear Channel reserves the right to revise the plan from time to time, provided that the Commission shall be given not less than thirty (30) days advance written notice of any revisions to the plan.
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