The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Imus defends Stern against FCC (kinda): closes the circle right here...

Regular readers may not be surprised to learn that the FCC censorship was first brought up here with right jock Don Imus in mind (January 16) fortnight or so before the a certain beige Wurst brought the ceiling down (that would be February 2).

Now, The Media Drop has news that Bush the Uniter, following his sterling work with the Iraqi Sunnis and Shia, has brought together a similarly unlikely pair:
On Don Imus' show this morning, he was responding to the latest fines related to Howard Stern's show and Clear Channel's subsequent "firing" of him from their stations. "It's a scary time in America, boys and girls," he said. "We don't need a bunch of Joe McCarthy's running around," referring to how people are deciding who to go on a witch-hunt after right now in the media world.

TMD also has a piece flagging a Media Life article on the relationship between Viacom's Mel Karmazin and Howard Stern under the dek
The big question: How long will Mel back Howard?

It suggests that the Sphincterine NAL - proposing a $495,000 of fines on Clear Channel (April 9) - may mark a change of course for Viacom/Infinity-Stern.

Apparently, at the same time as it issued the Clear Channel NAL,
the FCC made it clear that it would begin looking at broadcasts on Infinity stations that carry Stern, some 18 of a total of 35...At $27,500 per violation, and three violations per station, Infinity is facing a potential fine of $1,485,000.

I suspect that, even without HR 3717/S 2056, the new policy of fining per incident, rather than per show, could put up the Stern fine tally to many times its pre-Jackson rate.

(The Cliff Notes on - my understanding of - Viacom's legal remedies against any fine: they have to fight the NAL right through to final determination by the FCC before they can appeal to the DC Circuit Court. And that freezes all the other contentious matters it has before the FCC. Not very practical.

What Viacom needs is some collateral legal avenue of attack that can freeze the freeze. If there were such an avenue, I suspect it would be gridlocked already.)

[The Imus URL from Jeff Jarvis, I suspect, from whom much Stern may be had.]

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