February 26th, 2004


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12:01 am - on movies I'm going to have to see and things that I hoped I never would...
first on the fake world:

I just watched the trailer for Jersey Girl, and I gotta say I'm really looking forward to it. I was a big fan of Chasing Amy, and was very much looking forward to seeing what Smith would do when Affleck challenged him to "make another movie like that." The trailer looks adorable. I have to admit I was worried when the decided to cast Affleck with J-Lo. Visions of "Jiggly 2" just kept running through my head. Turns out I wasn't the only one worried. Since Gigli did so bad, Smith has editted J-Lo down to only appearing in the first 15 min of the film, and more or less stripped her from all of the advertising. I'm hoping that doesn't come across as awkward, because the rest of the story just seem kind of cute and touching and fun. Feel good movie of the whatever... I may even shed a tear...

yeah yeah yeah... that's what I said... I'm not always hostile. Fuck you!

and now the real world:

Clear Channel has dropped Howard Stern from all of its stations nationwide effective immediately. They have done so in direct response to him complaining about the stances the FCC has taken in regard to broadcast standards after the Janet Jackson Superbowl thing. I'm kind of tired and have to work in the morning, so I don't have it in me to do a full blown 1KWFFH rant right now, but let me just touch on this for now. Technically, I agree with Clear Channel. They have the right to adhere to their own personal standards on the stations that they own. Stern did go so far as to directly challenge on the air said standards, and dare them to pull him from the air. That has now happened. However, this problematic in that Clear Channel is all but a monopoly in that industry... that should be looked into. Technically, the FCC is supposed to keep that from happening. It seems to not care. Moreover, this entire mess is entirely caused by rulings made by the FCC, without which Clear Channel would not have instituted a zero tolerance policy in the first place (they fired Bubba the Love Sponge earlier in the week). Rulings which are now having a direct effect on issues of free speech, media and press. Like Stern and Bubba or hate them, the simple fact is that they are the media, and they are now being censored. Bah... I'm starting to get all ranty now, which I didn't want to do... I'm tired and I'm going to bed... but mark my words... this is going to end very very badly...

Current Mood: [mood icon] sleepy

(19 comments | Leave a comment)

 
on movies I'm going to have to see and things that I hoped I never would... - graffiti.maverick

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Comments:


[User Picture]From: arilinn Date: February 25th, 2004 - 09:36 pm (Link)
While I'm not a big stern fan(i don't reallly find him shocking, just annoying most of the time), I am upset by the fact that clear channel is being itself, and that he now has no radio outlet, unless he wants to jump to the unpopular AM. Clear channel has way too much control.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: February 25th, 2004 - 09:59 pm (Link)
well, technically, he isn't off the air... he works for Viacomm, not Clear Channel. Clear Channel just buys his show in some markets. So effectively a non-Clear Channel station could pick him up and start playing him now in any given market where Clear Channel was his old affiliate (like say, ours). But seeing as how they are like 50% of the business, its a pretty huge blow. But like I said, i agree that they have the right to program their stations however they like. I don't like that they own as much of the market as they do, but that's a completely separate issue.

The kicker, though is that he's going to have a hard time picking up other (independent) stations, because technically he is in violation of FCC mandates. And its those mandates that I disagree with... it is a puritanical overreaction to what was in essence a pretty harmless gesture to start with.
[User Picture]From: arilinn Date: February 25th, 2004 - 09:43 pm (Link)

PS

I also forgot... Stern was actually pretty supportive of clear channel's standardizing playlists. When callers would complain he'd tell them it's what sells and if they don't like it to get their own station. A little bit ironic :)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: February 26th, 2004 - 04:29 am (Link)

Re: PS

why ironic? Its true. If there's any irony, its that clear channel is flying in the face of that in support of "morals" now.
[User Picture]From: sui66iy Date: February 26th, 2004 - 06:15 am (Link)

Re: PS

Is it? Here's an alternative story:

Music sells because Clear Channel plays it. You only hear a few songs, so if you want to buy a new album, that's what you buy.

Aside: this may not work all that well. It's tough to "predict" hits (the movie industry fails routinely as well). A good way to do it is to throw a bunch of stuff out there and see what sticks. But this is not what Clear Channel does: they pick only a few things at a time. This is slower and less reliable. Odd coincidence: music industry profits are way down. Perhaps for reasons other than file sharing... But Clear Channel may not really give a shit, since they aren't the music industry. All they care about is advertiser revenue.

Now Clear Channel is homogenizing its DJ content. Sounds a lot like what they've done with music. Is there a good business argument for doing so? Who knows. Maybe they figure that as a near-monopoly, people will listen no matter what they play, so they might as well have the simplest, most homogenous format possible, so as to reduce costs. Maybe Stern costs a lot. Or maybe they are run by free speech hating zealots. Perhaps they really are afraid of the FCC.

Anyway, think twice before assuming that Clear Channel's motivations are as simple as "we sell what sells". Monopolies and near-monopolies don't have the same economic imperatives as normal companies.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: February 26th, 2004 - 07:07 am (Link)

Re: PS

eh... feedback loops are feedback loops. Its a chicken and egg problem. I do see your point. But I don't think its the same thing. CC plays certainly types of music because they BELIEVE its what sells. Whether that's because they caused it or not isn't relevant. They are taking a capitalist stance. If you can create the demand and supply the demand, then you win.

In this case, CC believes there is a demand, but they fear the consequences of filling the demand. They are doing something not in the interest of making money, but fear of losing it to the govt.

That said, yeah, monopolies are bad.
[User Picture]From: katieboyd Date: February 25th, 2004 - 10:07 pm (Link)
Could you do me a favor and link a story about these FCC mandates? I'm under a rock when it comes to news, and am curious about this story.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: February 26th, 2004 - 04:52 am (Link)
I'm not sure what you're looking for?

Re: FCC decency rules: there are tons of stories about it right now. here is one. But there are no specific rules. That's kind of the problem. The FCC can simply decide what it wants to fine the stations for. So you don't know the rule until it happens. Granted you can kind of guess in some cases. You know that saying the word "shit" or "fuck" will give you a fine, but, at least until recently, "nigger" and "faggot" were okay. It gets even weirder though, as context matters. "Pussy" is okay, except in reference to a woman's genitalia. The same thing applies to the word "cock" and even "dick" for a males genitalia. Its all very confusing. But basically its undefined. You aren't allowed to be offensive. Although the words nigger and faggot have been deregulated for years, going on the air and saying "all persons of african american ancestry and all persons who engage in homosexual erotic activity are mellonheads" can in fact earn you a fine. Its completely arbitray. Basically, if the PTC hears something it doesn't like, it complains to the FCC and they fine the radio station. Yes, it really is one group. A watchdog group with only 885,000 members. Last week, they heard something they didn't Bubba the Love Sponge they didn't like and complained to the PTC. Clear Channel was issued a $755,000 fine for a single infraction (the largest in broadcast history) and Bubba was fired.

Re: Stern in specific: Stern has been very vocal complaining about the current state of regulations, as late as yesterday morning. He has called it censorship and complained that he was sick of being held hostage to undefined rules. And said just tell me what I have to do to get pulled off the air and I will do it. Then he complained about corruption in the FCC. Officially however, he has been pulled off for discussing the Paris Hilton sex tape with Rick Solomon a couple days ago. The AFA says they are lodging complaints directly at Viacom (who owns the show) until Howard is fired. They claim that discussing the sex tape is offensive to women and african americans (never mind the fact that its been all over the news for the last 6 months). I actually heard the interview, and I guess it could be offensive to women, because it was basically an interview with a guy who likes to sleep with women and film them. I mean, he doesn't do it secretly, the women are aware of it, so I don't really think its offensive. But I guess, if promiscuity is offensive, well whatever. Where they got the offensive to blacks from, I have no idea. (For the record the AFA is a PTC like group... the one who lodged complaints at Disney for the movie Lilo & Stitch "pushing its homosexual agenda on our children"). Clear Channel has taken immediate action and pulled Stern from the air on all of its affiliates nationwide.

Does everyone now understand why I hate the PTC, AFA and Lieberman for backing such groups? *sigh*
[User Picture]From: inmostlight Date: February 26th, 2004 - 06:18 am (Link)
I hate all these groups getting uppity, when it's not like anyone is being FORCED to listen to Howard Stern. One of the great things about free will is that we can make that choice. If it offends you, just DON'T LISTEN TO IT. And I think it's pretty safe to say that if anyone turns on the Howard Stern show, they should know to expect random sex talk or whatever. And if not, they shouldn't be allowed to handle any devices more complex than a crayon.
And of course thanks to other brilliant FCC and congressional decisions, I now can't listen to Stern over internet radio either. Choices are being taken away from me by people incapable of controlling their own lives. Fuckers.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: February 26th, 2004 - 09:56 am (Link)
yep... pretty much... that's why I've complained about the PTC and such organizations at pretty much any opportunity I've had for like 15 years now.

There's all kinds of garbage I don't like on television and the radio. I solve this problem by turning the fucking channel.
[User Picture]From: danitapgh Date: February 26th, 2004 - 09:50 am (Link)
I would argue that the FCC has more power than it should with less public transparency than it should have. None of the commisioners of the FCC are elected by the public. They are all political appointees. The split of the FCC must be 3 members of one party and 2 members of another. However, what are the other 2 democrat members going to do if the other 3 are republicans? Plus, under this administration many FCC hearings have been private - without congress even getting a chance to hear what is going on. Granted, the FCC has a lot of things it is responsible for - many of the things are highly technical. However, things which affect First Amendment rights should perhaps be broken out of the FCC and placed under a more public body.

Generally, communities are allowed to say what is and isn't indecent in their community. The FCC is taking away the community and state's rights to decide this issue for themselves. Shouldn't the people of New York get to choose whether or not to listen to Howard Stern? Shouldn't the people of Alabama be allowed to decide this issue for themselves? Granted, this is all rolled into the Clear-channel near monopoly problem. However, the FCC should have mechanisms for allowing communities to decide what is and isn't indecent - instead of having one gigantic list for the whole country.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: February 26th, 2004 - 10:11 am (Link)
addressing several points

make-up of the FCC: its not even fair to say that the parties matter. Its not clear that the democrats are out to help the cause of free speech. For instance, Lieberman (and to a lesser extent Gore) has always been very active in the PTC. That's actually my main reason for not liking him. As you said, if closed hearings are allowed then we have no idea of what is going on. Furthermore, the public has no power to control its own destiny with regard to the airwaves at all.

powers of the FCC: again I agree. The FCC is charged with regulation of the airwaves. In my opinion, the process needs to be revisited to see if its still working since the system is based on a world where the airwaves consisted of a handful of radio stations and now they are mandating TV and Satellite. But the FCC needs to exist. Someone needs to decide who gets what bandwith. When can we stop broadcasting non HDTV-signals? What kinds of licenses do you need in order to use bandwith, etc. But issues of content should be entirely left up to the consumer. If this were print, there wouldn't be any argument. The Supreme Court found that Larry Flint has the right to publish whatever the fuck he wants. If you don't like it, then you don't buy his magazine. Society will self-regulate. If we allow nudity on television for instance, will all shows have Janet Jackson exposing herself? No, they won't. Just like all magazines don't contain Hustler type material. If we leave Howard Stern alone, then his fans will listen to him, and the rest of the world will listen to something else. If we're worried about the children, then we can mandate V-chips be installed in all new radios (like they are in TVs), I have no problem whatsoever with the FCC doing that, and I think it was a good idea when they did it for TV.

Stern's audience: Technically he is still on in NYC. Infinity (a division of Viacomm) owns that station. But the question is for how long. No, actually I don't think the people of NYC and Alabama should be able to control what a station broadcasts... at least not legally. They have the power to turn the channel, or put in a CD, or turn it off altogether. They have a consumer vote. Clear Channel pays money to operate radio stations. So they should be able to simply decide that all 1200 of their stations are all Mormon bible study all the time, if they want to. Of course they'll go out of business really quick. I do have a problem with them being able to own so many of the radio stations (something that the FCC is SUPPOSED to keep from happening, btw). But, that's a completely separate issue.
[User Picture]From: arilinn Date: February 25th, 2004 - 10:16 pm (Link)

last word before bed

Gah, J-lo and Liv Tyler! Two of my least favorite female acresses.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: February 26th, 2004 - 04:27 am (Link)

Re: last word before bed

eh... I suppose.... Liv Tyler is the lead of it... J-lo dies 15 min. in. (not a spoiler... that is in fact the basis premise). I just think the whole thing looks kinda interesting... but then, I liked Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. I didn't expect many people would be up for seeing it with me. But then, no one really wanted to see Chasing Amy when it came out, either.
[User Picture]From: cuddlyd00m Date: February 26th, 2004 - 06:09 am (Link)
Clear Channel has dropped Howard Stern from all of its stations nationwide effective immediately. They have done so in direct response to him complaining about the stances the FCC has taken in regard to broadcast standards after the Janet Jackson Superbowl thing.

Your statement is slightly disingenuous. Clear Channel only carried him on six stations. Saying that they dropped him nationwide, while true, implies something more.

Also, the reason they dropped him was not because he complained - it's because of an interview during which he violated decency standards put forth by Clear Channel. Pretty simple, really.

I agree, though, that there's something wrong with the size of the Clear Channel empire. Then again, there's something wrong with Viacom, Disney, etc. Not sure just how you'd go about breaking it up, though. No one has an obvious monopoly, and I haven't heard any charges of collusion that would allow the government to break them up as an oligopoly, either. Then again - hearing about any such charges would most likely come through one of those media giants...
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: February 26th, 2004 - 06:46 am (Link)
where did you get the number 6? As far as I can tell, Clear Channel has not said how many of its stations were airing Stern. I have found one paper that said it was six outlets, but that's it. Clear channel owns over 1200 stations nationwide. I have to believe they only air on six stations.

Anyway, its tricky, because even if it only six, but since they own multiple stations in the same market, its not like he can just jump to another one.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: February 26th, 2004 - 09:52 am (Link)
Ok, found the info. Before today, Stern was broadcast on 42 radio stations. Clear Channel owned 6 of them. So yeah, that is a serious portion of his demographic. Again, I have no real problem with them doing that if they wanted to. The problem is they did it because they feel they have no other recourse because of the way the FCC is behaving. The other problem is that because Clear Channel owns most of the radio stations (over 1200 of them), its not like he can just be picked up by another station in the markets where he's been dropped

Honestly, I like Stern sometimes and sometimes I don't, but I'm not so much defending him, as I am arguing against the FCC, PTC, AFA and anyone else who would restrict content allowed to be broadcast through legislation. If Clear Channel decides on its own that they are being "family oriented" and don't want "filth like Stern and Bubba" on their programs... that's fine. Its not fine, when the government gives them no choice.
[User Picture]From: amergina Date: February 26th, 2004 - 07:01 am (Link)
Apropos of nothing,but I love your journal layout, Chris!
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: February 26th, 2004 - 07:23 am (Link)
heh... thanx...

yeah, I like the concept a lot, myself
 

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