Tillman Tribute Too Blue for Broadcasters

The Pat Tillman memorial service Monday got a little too blue for some broadcasters.

After friends of the the late Arizona Cardinals football player-turned-soldier let loose with some locker-room language, including the F-word, during a memorial service that was a mix of reverent and irreverent tribute, at least one station, KPNX Phoenix, pulled the plug on the coverage.

Heightened concern in the wake of the FCC f-word crackdown? "There's definitely a heightened sensitivity," station President/GM Pat Misner told the Arizona Republic, "but I think the same motivation would have been there a year ago, with the same result.... We never imagined at a service like this, with Senator (John) McCain in attendance, Maria Shriver in attendance and other guests, that that kind of language would be used," he told the paper.

ESPN tried to bleep out the language from its broadcast of the service, but apparently missed at least one expletive, according to a viewer. Cable does not have the same indecency constraints as cable, but cable and broadcast networks alike are trying to take more editorial control over live events.

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.