Idol Chatter

The price of saying seven words you can’t say on television just went up: Thanks to legislation pushed by the Christian Coalition and signed into law by President Bush today, fines for broadcasting what the Federal Communications Commission deems indecent content will rise tenfold, from $32,500 per infraction to $325,000. (All seven will now cost $2,275,000.) The law, sponsored in the Senate by Kansas lawmaker and avowed Christian conservative Sam Brownback, is the fallout, so to speak, from Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2005 Super Bowl.

Some commentators believe the sum effect will be to create a filthier and cruder radio culture on XM and Sirius, the fledgling satellite radio companies outside the jurisdiction of the FCC. Much like cable television, which can air racier fare because viewers consent to their programming by purchasing it, the satellite channels have already hired Stern and other shock jocks to attract their loyal listeners and lure more with the promise of outlandish chat.

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