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Off With Her Show

It was fear of the FCC post Janet Jackson, says noncom network Rocky Mountain PBS, that forced it to replace a show with nude drawings to one about naked orbs.

The network, which comprises KRMA Denver, KRMJ Grand Junction, and KTSC Pueblo,  preempted Monday's night's 9 p.m. airing of PBS' documentary Marie Antoinette, which contained erotic drawings and a discussion of Louis VXI's impotence.

Instead, it aired a couple of specials from the "Naked Planet" series.

While KRMA said the material was presented "tastefully and in a historical context, it also said that it, along with "other PBS stations," had to remove the show "for fear of being fined by the FCC."

PBS spokeswoman Jan McNamara said that eight of the 55 stations Nielsen monitors for it did not air the show, but added that it is quite common for stations to preempt or not run shows since they are all independent entities.

She said PBS had heard from some stations concerned about the subject matter, but points out that the etchings--of the Queen in compromising positions--and the charges of impotence were central to the tale of Antoinette's fall from grace with the King.

Rocky Mountain PBS' Webmaster suggested KRMA would be rescheduled for a future date to air after 10 p.m., when indecent content is protected. The network's Website posted the news about the preemption in its user forum.

At press time it had drawn 781 sets of eyeballs and 37 responses, a brief survey of which yielded numerous angry complaints about the FCC's content crackdown.

Station spokeswoman Allison Inman said that the network had received a complaint about language in the past and that the move was prompted by legitimate conern about potential fines.
She said the show will re-air on Oct. 8 at 10:30 p.m. and again on Nov. 5 in the same time slot. Inman said it had not initially planned to air it twice, but wanted to make sure viewers inconvenienced by the preemption got a chance to see it.
It is not the first time the issue of anatomically correct art has come up in regards to FCC indecency enforcement. In a filing at the FCC following the Janet Jackson decision, the American Association of Public Television Stations asserted that some stations were comtemplating editing out a nude lithograph from an episode of Antiques Roadshow.

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.