Many rulings expected in coming months
WASHINGTON — The impending decision to fine CBS more than $500,000 for Janet Jackson’s infamous Super Bowl striptease is hardly the end of the fed’s indecency crackdown.
Federal Communications Commission topper Michael Powell Wednesday said he expects many indecency rulings in the coming weeks and months.
“My prediction is you’ll see a rash of action on that front,” Powell told reporters at a wide-ranging press briefing. “We have a duty to work through all the pending indecency complaints.”
Powell said the commissioners are putting their final touches on the Jackson decision, which will be released late this week or next week.
The anticipated spate of indecency rulings is fueled in part by upcoming broadcast license renewals, a lengthy process that gives TV and radio stations the government’s seal of approval if they are living up to their public interest requirements — obligations such as airing children’s programming. The eight-year renewals are skedded to begin Oct. 1.
According to FCC rules, once an agency takes action on a license renewal, there is a one-year statute of limitations on any indecency complaints brought against that station.
The FCC is quick to point out that not all the indecency decisions will bring fines. Many complaints are dismissed as unwarranted, FCC sources said.