Indecency/Obsecenity Complaints Down In FCC's Most Recent Accounting

The summer of 2009 was a slow time for indecency and obscenity complaints at the Federal Communications Commission, according to its most recent quarterly accounting.

For last year's third quarter -- July, August and September -- the FCC received 1,827 complaints, down dramatically from the 12,940 it received in the previous three months.

The commission has logged well over 1 million such complaints in the pipeline dating back several years. Its indecency enforcement regime has been in legal limbo as federal courts continue to sort out various challenges to its content-control powers, although it has begun sending out letters of inquiries on some of those complaints, according to attornies whose clients have received the letters.

In the second quarter of 2009, indecency complaints were more than two-thirds of the 17,047 total radio and TV-related commplaints to the FCC, while they were less than a third of the 6,700 radio and TV complaints registered in the third quarter.

Other such complaints include about marketing and advertising, general programming criticisms and DTV issues.

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.