AFA Complains Over NASCAR No-No

The American Family Association is asking members to file an indecency complaint against Fox. Its last call for indecency complaints--against NBC's Las Vegas--generated drew over 100,000 e-mails to the FCC

AFA which filed indecency complaints against CBS' Without a Trace and most recently  Vegas, sent out an alert Monday asking its members to complain to the FCC about Fox's coverage of a Sunday NASCAR race, the Food City 500, in which a member of driver Martin Truex's race team referred to a car in a post-race interview as a "piece of s**t."

The FCC two weeks ago fined stations carrying Without a Trace a total of $3.6 million. In the same package of proposed indecency fines against almost a dozen broadcasts, it made clear that variations of the s-word, including those involving owls and bulls, could be found indecent, proposing hefty fines against several variations.

Fox Sports spokesman Dan Bell points out that race announcer Mike Joy immediately apologized, with Bell saying: "We are very sorry that comment escaped our screening process, We take audio very seriously and make painstaking efforts to offer only the best. We will continue to evaluate our policy but as of now there is no delay in place during our live coverage."

AFA has been ramping up its anti-indecency efforts including making it easier to file online complaints. While, theoretically it only takes one complaint to generate an inquiry, and additional complaints don't make something more or less indecency, past and current FCC Chairmen have pointed to the volume of complaints when releasing their proposed fines.

NBC took some heat in October 2004 for NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s S-word in an on-air interview, and last fall TNT said it would not institute a tape delay after it caught some flak over an s-word--apparently NASCAR's curse of choice--that slipped out of driver Robby Gordon in a post-race interview.

Unlike broadcast, cable is not subject to FCC indecency fines.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.