Vice Squad
Saturday, December 04, 2004
 
Pre-Empting the FCC...


...with a suspension and multiple apologies. In Milwaukee on Thursday Mike McGee, a talk radio host, used unapproved language -- aimed at state legislators -- on the air. A day later, McGee was off the air, thanks to a suspension by station owner Jerrel Jones. Was Jones offended by McGee's statement? I don't know, but apparently, it wasn't any personal affront that drove the suspension. Nor has the FCC been deluged with offended listeners. It appears it took media publicity (not the broadcast itself) to stir up the defenders of purity:
While he understands McGee uttered the offensive word in the heat of the moment, "the bottom line is, I'm not going to risk my FCC involvement," Jones said, referring to his Federal Communications Commission broadcast license. "I've had it now for 35 years. I'm walking on eggshells with the FCC . . . I know the rules."

The FCC bans obscene language and restricts use of indecent language from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to protect children who might be listening. An FCC spokeswoman said Friday that the agency had not received any complaints against McGee or WNOV [the station] about his Thursday remark.

Jones said, however, that he had been deluged with complaint calls Friday, prompted by a report in the Journal Sentinel. Jones offered an apology to listeners of McGee's show and pledged there would be no repeat of such language.

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