Activist Accuses Clear Channel of Double Standard
March 12, 2004

A community activist in Cincinnati has called Clear Channel to complain about what he perceives to be a double standard in the company's new indecency policy. After suspending Howard Stern and citing a program that featured lewd sexual content and a racial slur as the reason, Clear Channel aired an edition of the Tom Joyner Morning Show that featured a comedian who used similar racial terms. One listener, community activist Nathaniel Livingston Jr., took offense.

"I'm a fan of Tom Joyner, but I was deeply offended by that skit," Livingston told The Washington Times. "It seems like a double standard to drop Howard Stern but not take action against Tom Joyner."

Clear Channel's policy states that it will automatically suspend anyone whom the FCC accuses of wrongdoing by issuing a proposed fine. It pulled Stern's show after a parents' advocacy group filed a complaint with the FCC about the aforementioned segment. (The Commission has not proposed a fine for that particular Stern broadcast.) Clear Channel EVP Law & Government Affairs Andrew Levin told the Times he was unaware of any complaints being logged against Joyner's show, although Livingston said that he did complain to the FCC about it. An FCC source told the paper the agency has received some complaints about things that aired on Clear Channel stations since the new policy took effect but nothing specific was mentioned. 

The Times also said that since Clear Channel instituted its new policy, the company has been criticized because it continues to employ other hosts who have been accused of pushing the indecency envelope, such as morning man Elliot Segal from WWDC/Washington. However, Levin said that his company will not hold stations responsible for things they aired before the new policy was in place. "We're looking forward, not backward," he said.

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