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FCC. Did they cut back on the rules for TV 12am-6am?


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#1 of 20 Larry Fletcher

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Posted June 02 2003 - 01:24 PM

Can anyone confirm this? I was flipping through the channels and heard it on tech tv. I did not get all of it so I apologize if I am incorrect. Is the FCC taking a lighter stance on decency rules for 12am to 6am?

thanks!

#2 of 20 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted June 02 2003 - 02:21 PM

It'd be nice, wouldn't it?

#3 of 20 MickeS

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Posted June 02 2003 - 02:39 PM

I didn't even know they were making the rules. I thought the rules were self-imposed by the networks in order to avoid government regulation (not that there would be much of a difference).
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#4 of 20 LarryDavenport

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Posted June 02 2003 - 03:04 PM

I'm more concerned with WAY TOO MANY infomercials. Our local UPN affiliate showed 35 hours this past Saturday and Sunday.

#5 of 20 Inspector Hammer!

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Posted June 02 2003 - 05:04 PM

Just as long as they don't pull the commercials for Girls Gone Wild, I like them for some strange reason. Posted Image

It would also be nice to never EVER see that Don Laprie dude again!

If I hear him utter "From my tiny one bedroom apartment, I started placing ads in the newspaper!" one more time...

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#6 of 20 Greg_S_H

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Posted June 02 2003 - 05:40 PM

I was just remarking last night that there must have been a change effective June 1. While flipping through (honestly), I noticed Cinemax was playing more softcores than usual (which is saying a lot for Cinemax), and they were taking it much further than usual.

#7 of 20 Ike

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Posted June 03 2003 - 12:52 AM

Greg,

No ruling the FCC made would have any effect on basic cable, much less the pay cable channels, which are only governed by decency laws. So they could do hardcore, probably, and no one could do anything. The only stations that answer to the FCC are OTA stations-the stuff that floats through the air free of charge. If the FCC laxes it's rules for 12-6, that would only effect ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, etc, but not HBO, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, etc.

The basic cable stations govern themselves based on advertisers and a general guidline of the OTA stations. So, in theory, MTV can show nudity and cursing all they want, but they don't because Pepsi (or whoever) doesn't want that associated with their product. So the only way an FCC ruling like this might effect those stations is in changing the basic atmosphere of what's allowed.

As for softcore flicks, they've always played a lot, and the newer ones do go farther. Their may have been a policy change, or they got the rights to some newer ones that are more risque. Either way, it probably has very little to do with the FCC.

Oh well...thank God for HBO and pay cable.


#8 of 20 Dan Rudolph

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Posted June 03 2003 - 04:48 AM

Ike: MTV has in fact show a few things uncensored. Scared Straight 2 and the breast augmentation special, for instance. I'm not sure what the current regulations are for night OTA broadcasts, but I know I've seen some pretty racy stuff, such as women wearing what are technically shirts, but so transparent or loose weave they might as well not be.
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#9 of 20 Derek Miner

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Posted June 03 2003 - 05:29 AM

Regulation on broadcasting between midnight and 6 am is as loose as it's ever going to get. When I looked up the facts on the "indecency safe harbor," I found that the window was even expanded to include 10 pm to 6 am! This has been in effect since 1995. Only material deemed "obscene" can not be aired in these hours.

Honestly, the difficulty in proving any material to be obscene pretty much gives broadcasters free reign in these hours, but they obviously choose to define their own standards. I have heard public radio stations broadcasting music that wouldn't fly in the daytime, but that's about the only difference I've ever noticed at night. I have heard of some stations in other parts of the country airing films with nudity uncut in the wee hours, however.
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#10 of 20 Patrick Sun

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Posted June 03 2003 - 05:48 AM

You can show naked breasts on TV if there's a medical reason for doing so. Meredith Baxter did so for her TV movie on the topic of breast cancer.

Showing naked breasts for tittilation purposes is a tougher sell to the FCC.
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#11 of 20 Marc_Sulinski

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Posted June 03 2003 - 05:58 AM

I was under the impression that the FCC does not explicity state what can and cannot be shown on TV. The only time they enforce something like this is when people complain to them If nobody complains, they do nothing. Is this correct?

#12 of 20 Derek Miner

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Posted June 03 2003 - 06:56 AM

Marc, that's somewhat correct. The two watchwords as far as content broadcast on public airwaves are "indecent" and "obscene."

The FCC's definition of obscene:

Quote:
(1) an average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest
(2) the material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law
and (3) the material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
And if the content could be deemed "patently offensive" by "an average broadcast viewer or listener," without being at the level of obscenity, then it's labelled "indecent."

The FCC says nothing obscene at any time, and indecent material is prohibited between 6am and 10pm. With such vague definitions, you can imagine the debate over what is or is not allowed stretch on for a while in court.

And yes, the FCC only acts if they receive a complaint. I guess it's the old case of "if a tree falls in the woods..."

Some wonderful notices of recent violations can be read here:
http://www.fcc.gov/e...st/obscind.html
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#13 of 20 Ike

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Posted June 03 2003 - 07:57 AM

From the FCC:

Quote:
Obscene speech is not protected by the First Amendment and cannot be broadcast at any time.

I believe, but may very well be wrong, this was determined when someone played George Carlin's 7 Dirty Words skit on radio. They provided a warning before hand, but someone (wasn't it a minister and his son?) were offended, and thus it was ruled that those words were not protected under the first admendment.

Here's what got a fine on Telemundo:

Quote:
The April 3, 2000, broadcast depicts a man and woman in a bathtub
filled with bubbles. Telemundo argues that the material did not
make any explicit reference to sexual or excretory organs or
activities. Telemundo asserts that at most the scene where the
woman disappears underwater and the man smiles contains sexual
innuendo and is not patently offensive under any community
standard. We disagree. Before the woman disappears underwater,
she is shown licking the man's chest and then winking as she says
that she is looking for her contact lens underwater. That,
coupled with the man's reaction as she goes underwater, renders
the material clearly sexual in nature. The Commission has stated
that although material may contain innuendo and double entendre
rather than more directly explicit sexual reference, it is still
indecent where the sexual meaning is unmistakable.

Ugh....again, thank God for HBO and pay cable.

Dan,

I realize that MTV sometimes airs nudity and language. It doesn't normally allow it, but if it does, it's for an educational puprose like the two instances you cited. They aren't like HBO or Showtime. They could be if they wanted, as far as I know.


#14 of 20 Greg_S_H

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Posted June 03 2003 - 09:29 AM

I should have known that, Ike! My brain wasn't working when I typed that. :b

#15 of 20 Jesse Skeen

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Posted June 03 2003 - 10:50 AM

Stations around here used to air uncut R-rated movies during prime time, with language and nudity intact. I have off-air recordings of stuff like "My Tutor" shown unedited. The stations stopped eventually because of complaints (but now ruin all their shows with continuous onscreen logos and apparantly that's OK!)
I remember in 1988 a station in Kansas City was fined by the FCC for showing "Private Lessons" in prime time, which I'd seen on a station here in prime time a couple years before that.
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#16 of 20 Ike

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Posted June 03 2003 - 01:45 PM

So, I have to ask-why don't TV stations take advantage of this 10-6 rule? I was unaware of that law. It seems like the networks would want to jump on that and air racy stuff, since that'd certainly have an audience.

#17 of 20 Wayne Bundrick

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Posted June 03 2003 - 05:28 PM

Quote:
So, I have to ask-why don't TV stations take advantage of this 10-6 rule? I was unaware of that law. It seems like the networks would want to jump on that and air racy stuff, since that'd certainly have an audience.

The networks have to decide whether it's worth gaining that audience in exchange for losing the audience of people who would be offended.

It's a balancing act, and yet the networks have been steadily pushing the envelope for years. Remember when NYPD Blue first went on the air?

Of Carlin's Seven Dirty Words, now it isn't uncommon to hear three of them during primetime, albeit more likely at 10:00 than 8:00, and only during a drama, not as bathroom humor.
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#18 of 20 Ike

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Posted June 04 2003 - 06:49 AM

Quote:
Of Carlin's Seven Dirty Words, now it isn't uncommon to hear three of them during primetime, albeit more likely at 10:00 than 8:00, and only during a drama, not as bathroom humor.

Okay,

Shit
Piss
Tits

Right? But after 10, with proper warning, I don't think Fox would get in much trouble with the audience if it allowed 'fuck'. And Comedy Central would lose 0 audience members, and gain a ton. I just don't see why they insist on leaving the other 4 off.


#19 of 20 Dan Rudolph

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Posted June 04 2003 - 07:48 AM

Tits can be used all over and no one thinks anything of it. I'm not sure how that ended up on the dirty word list to begin with.

As for the other words, I think it's concern over advertizers.
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#20 of 20 Michael St. Clair

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Posted June 04 2003 - 08:18 AM

Quote:
I realize that MTV sometimes airs nudity and language. It doesn't normally allow it, but if it does, it's for an educational puprose like the two instances you cited. They aren't like HBO or Showtime. They could be if they wanted, as far as I know.


But they wouldn't just lose advertisers, most cable/satellite providers would drop them from their standard tier. They'd lose tons of viewers as people would need to specifically subscribe to the channel.


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