The Daily Stern:
: PURITANISM HURTS PROFITS: Ad Age reports (it’s not online yet) that advertisers say the indecent indecency legislation and the FCC’s increased puritanism will hurt the entire broadcast industry:
…media buyers are concerned it could hurt broadcasters’ ability to compete with cable and satellite media and make it more difficult to reach a mass audience.
“It has the potential of raising the average age of the network TV audience,” said Allen Banks, exec VP-North American media director for Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi.
That is death to the broadcast business. You want to talk about how you want more voices in media? Well, this will only lead to deeper business problems and thus more consolidation.
“If there is a big crackdown, it could affect advertising,” said Rich Hamilton, CEO of ZenithOptimedia Group. “A certain amount of provocative material is material viewers are interested in watching.”
: FIGHTING BACK: Mancow Muller, the frighteningly intense shock jock and FoxNews fave, is suing a guy who has filed a bunch of complaints against him with the FCC:
The nationally syndicated WKQX-FM (101.1) morning personality is expected to file a $3 million lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court today against David Edward Smith, the Chicago man whose Citizens for Community Values has lodged 66 complaints about “Mancow’s Morning Madhouse” with the Federal Communicatons Commission.
Acting on Smith’s complaints, the FCC so far has cited Muller and Q-101’s parent, Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications, six times for indecency, resulting in fines totaling $42,000.
Among other claims, the lawsuit will charge Smith with business interference and filing “spurious complaints” with the FCC that are “repetitive, malicious, untrue, and designed merely for the purpose of harassment [and] to cause [Muller] economic ruin.” …
“Although I studied to be a minister, my time of ‘turn the other cheek’ has now ended. I firmly believe the ‘zealots’ have done numerous illegal things that will be revealed in the courts. I have garnered a massive war fund and will not quit until my First Amendment right to free speech is restored. I ask for everyone’s prayers during this tough time….”
: BACKLASH COMING: Expect a backlash against this resurrected puritanism. An ad newsletter notes such a ‘lash coming from advertising (pictures here). They call it “shockvertising.”
: CLEAR CHANNEL’S POLITICS: USA Today digs into Clear Channels’ political contributions today:
Clear Channel, rejecting Howard Stern’s claims that he was canned for slamming President Bush, says its radio network does not have a political agenda.
But new political contribution data tell a different story about Clear Channel (CCU) executives. They have given $42,200 to Bush, vs. $1,750 to likely Democratic nominee John Kerry in the 2004 race.
What’s more, the executives and Clear Channel’s political action committee gave 77% of their $334,501 in federal contributions to Republicans. That’s a bigger share than any other entertainment company, says the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
In contrast, Viacom (VIA) executives and its political action committee gave just 30% of their $545,650 to Republican candidates. Viacom syndicates Stern’s show.
: THE CHILL WIND SPREADS: Steven Bochco has made some of the best damned shows in the history of TV; he can be credited with bringing in the real golden age of television. But now they’re snipping at him, too:
For the first time in the show’s 11 years, creator Steven Bochco says, the network’s censors have breached an agreement that allows him to air the racy material that gives the TV drama its gritty appeal.
Bochco’s troubles began soon after Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show.
Three times since then, Bochco says, ABC has expunged racy scenes from “NYPD Blue,” including one that he describes as “a relatively brief, very tasteful sex scene.”
An ABC spokeswoman confirmed the changes but said they resulted from a “standard review” by the network’s censors. Bochco said he refused to make the changes voluntarily.
“It doesn’t mean that I can stop them from doing it,” he said. “But it does signal my unwillingness to be a co-conspirator. It’s very chilling. It’s a little intimidating, and it’s frustrating.”
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