Fri. Aug 23, 2002
Sex, Church, and Radio Don't Mix
Sex, Church, and Radio Don’t Mix – You may recall the story of the two DJ’s soliciting couples to commit sex acts in risky places. Like St. Patrick’s Cathedral. At the time, I said, "One can’t legislate against professional idiocy, or the brain damage caused by either excessive drug usage or a parental drop-on-the-head that must surely be the root cause of this ’idea’ [...] In business, wherever possible, stupidity should have a high price."
At first, it appeared like most shock radio stunts; a lot of pooh-poohing from authorities and/or civic groups, free publicity for the Bad Boys, but little real punishment. However, the toothless old dog known as the FCC managed to rustle up the energy for a hearty growl, once poked by a third of a million Catholics: " ’If these complaints and press accounts prove true, this commission should consider the strongest enforcement action possible against this station, up to and including revocation of the station’s license,’ FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said in a statement earlier this week."
Now, we’ll try hard not to parse the ”consider” in that statement, as it’s shocking that in times of massive conglomerate ownership of stations hulking over the raped-and-left-for-dead fiction of ”operating in the public interest,” the FCC would bark that loud. It had the desired effect.
Opie and Anthony are now available to work at sock hops in your neighborhood, as they’ve been terminated with extreme prejudice. " ’WNEW and Infinity Broadcasting do not in any way condone the actions that took place last week,’ said Infinity spokesman Dana McClintock." Not with our license being held over our head, no, sir, no we don’t. But as a former program director, I gotta tell ya, this stunt wasn’t just concocted on a whim one morning by two guys with fake names. In fact, the article says, "The radio show’s stunt was part of a regular feature where couples could earn points and win a trip for having sex in risky places." It’s easy to pass off such an idiotic stunt as just a juvenile DJ prank, but if it was a ”regular feature,” the responsiblity for the content flows uphill. And so it has: "The station’s general manager and the program director also were suspended, he said." I’d be updating my resume, if I were them.
But the protesters are apparently happy with just two heads (and the criminal prosecution ofthe couple): "The decision to sack the shock jocks and their highly rated afternoon drive-time show was hailed by William Donohue, head of the 350,000-member Catholic League. ’I’m delighted with the results,’ said Donohue. Donohue said his group would back off its call for the FCC to pull WNEW’s broadcast license and fine Infinity."
And so, the old toothless dog named FCC can stay in the shade up on the porch, and return to the slumber of senility. All that growling can wear a dog out.