Explaining The Indecency Crackdown To Your Listeners
March 1, 2004

Explaining why you've removed their favorite radio show to Howard Stern fans is about as easy as justifying an Alaskan oil pipeline to environmentalists.  But give Clear Channel credit for trying to help listeners understand the government's indecency crackdown and how it's affecting their choice of radio shows.

KIOZ/San Diego, one of six stations to indefinitely suspend Stern from its airwaves one week ago, has the lengthiest explanation on its web site. (A station source says they've received close to 1,000 emails and a couple hundred phone calls.) The notice is actually a letter from PD Shauna Moran that is presumably sent to Stern fans that write to complain. Moran explains how  Clear Channel has instituted a Responsible Broadcasting Initiative, "to save our stations from receiving FCC fines and from the possibility of having our licenses revoked. It would not do you or Howard any good if we no longer had the license to broadcast on Rock 105.3."

Moran echoes earlier company statements that it plans to keep Stern off until it receives assurances he'll adhere to its new zero-tolerance indecency policy. "'What we are trying to see is if the company that Howard works for is taking the steps to protect our license for all of our sakes," she says. "Whether you and I agree with that, at this time these are the rules that our business has to live with.  We are not like other businesses, in that we don't own the airwaves, we just have the right to use this frequency."

Moran says KIOZ GM Mike Glickenhaus and Stern agent Don Buchwald have spoken about the situation and that Buchwald "understands our decision and we all hope it is a very temporary issue.  We know Howard will not be happy about this, but unfortunately every radio air talent in America is operating under some different conditions at this time.  We are definitely trying to deal with this issue."

After encouraging listeners to "write the appropriate parties, and let them know how you feel about the guidelines that have been laid out and their new interpretations on indecency," Moran offers this closer: "Trust me when I say everyone here at Rock 105.3 is a Howard Stern fan, and wants this issue resolved as soon as possible."

The web headline for Orlando Hot Talker WTKS is "Information about what's happening with the Howard Stern Show, FCC and Clear Channel."  Click on it and you get this message from SVP Programming Tom Owens: "The content of Howard Stern's program is not in compliance with Clear Channel's content standards.  Until the program provider makes those adjustments, we will be unable to air the Howard Stern Show." 'TKS also provides links to CC's press release, a newspaper article, and audio from last week's Congressional hearing on indecency.

Like KIOZ, Modern Rock WXDX/Pittsburgh notes how the government can strip a station's license for indecency violations. "We hope to work out adjustments with Howard Stern's show provider soon in order for The X to be in compliance," wxdx.com says. "We appreciate your patience and understanding and hope to have it worked out soon."

The three other Stern-scrubbed Clear Channel stations -- WTFX/Louisville, WNVE/Rochester, and WBGG/Miami -- have no mention of the issue.  Miami's "Big 106" has removed Stern from its online jock listing.

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Nicki Farag,
SVP of Promotion,
Def Jam Recordings

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