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FCC Clobbers Clear Channel

Washington—The FCC promised to start fining stations for indecency violations, and it has. On March 12, Clear Channel was fined $247,500 for a March 13, 2003, Elliot in the Morning
segment airing on three radio stations, which repeated twice during promos. During the morning drive show, host Elliot Segal and co-host Diane Stupar noted the 50th birthday of porn star Ron Jeremy. Prodded by the hosts, a female caller said on the air that she regularly masturbated to Jeremy's sex scenes and was aroused by "the way he licks pussy." Each airing garnered the $27,500-per-incident maximum.

Segal is a shock jock on Washington's WWDC(FM). His show also airs on WRXL(FM) Richmond, Va., and WOSC(FM) Bethany Beach, Del. The fine came two weeks after Clear Channel announced a "no-tolerance" policy for indecent broadcasts.

Spectrum Fees Cut

Washington—Good news for broadcasters. The $1.95 trillion budget for fiscal 2005 passed by the Senate March 12 does not contain the station spectrum fees originally proposed by the White House. The House has not yet completed its package, but no fees are expected in that version either. Spectrum fees have been doing an annual Punxsutawney Phil-like appearing-and-disappearing act in the budget for years.

The Passion of the Fans

New York—"You asinine, bottom-dwelling, numb-skulled, low-life, slimy, sickening, gutless, spineless, ignorant, pot-licking, cowardly pathetic little weasel." That's not off the cutting-room floor of a broadcast-friendly South Park
(see story, page 1). It's an excerpt from one of a record number of letters, most in that vein, received by Andy Rooney after he—or, actually, the "voice of God"—called Mel Gibson and Pat Robertson "wackos" in his March 7 60 Minutes
commentary on The Passion of Christ. Rooney read some of those letters March 14.