Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Caller says "Bulls**t" on KSFO. Sussman Show. Alert the FCC!

(I'm reposting this from when I wrote it on 6/29/09 because I didn't have access to the audio clips then, they are now included.)

Dear FCC:

Below is a profanity complaint:

On 06/22/2009 at 06:15 pm on the Citadel Broadcasting Corporation (Public, OTC:CTDB) on radio station KSFO, 560 AM in San Francisco, CA on the Brian Sussman show starting at approximately 6:15 pm a regular caller, "Farra" uttered a profanity during a conversation with host Brian Sussman. The caller was talking about people in Iran:

"They want to be part of the structure of the whole world, that want to another country. They want to communicate they don't want isolation. And the whole thing is not between Mousavi or Ahmadinejad is just people being tired of this bulls**t mullah business for three decades."

Sussman: Farrah I appreciate your call here on KSFO, thanks for being with us at 18 minutes past six o'clock.

Here is the short audio link of the specific phrase. It is stored here in two formats
MP3 short link
WMA short link

Here is the audio clip of the entire call.
MP3 long link
WMA long link

All the material above can be filled in directly with the FCC online form (link)
Or you may email your completed complaint form and supporting documents to
Here are other ways to file (link)

Please take this information and file a complaint.



Conservative talk radio is always talking about their desire for people to follow the rule of law. This is their opportunity to put their money where their mouth is.

As I said in more detail here

These are THEIR rules. I'm just asking that they follow them. This isn't about me, this is about them. The religious right worked overtime to make those rules have financial teeth. Not 6k fines like in the old days, but $350,000 or $550,000 (the hosts should remember that the unions, which the right hates, ensured that those fines wouldn't be levied to the host personally. Be sure to thank your union rep next time you see him.)

Broadcast Radio and TV people love to go on about how profane bloggers are, I remind them that for the most part we are NOT writing or podcasting in a regulated environment. They are. Their industry is the one that is regulated in exchange for the use of the public's airwaves. If they want to fight for the option to say profane words go right ahead. Of course you will be arguing against the Christian Right and their guy, Justice Scalia, who remembers the rules that were put into place that they agreed to:
"Programming replete with one-word indecent expletives will tend to produce children" who use them, Justice Scalia wrote.

For decades the rules have been the same and the broadcast industry have established protocols and tools to protect themselves. They use seven second delays, tape delays, call screeners, producers or engineers with the ability to dump profanity. It's not as if they didn't know this might happen or didn't have the tools. This is just the cost of doing business in the environment that they created.

I'm sure a potential $350,000 fine would have been nice to avoid and, like Fox with Bono, I'm sure they will scramble the lawyers to attempt to dismiss it, or stop it using all the standard tricks.

I have said in the past that Citadel management's insistence in seeing these KSFO hosts as assets and not liabilities is a mistake, but one that they have chosen to make. I don't know how many more ways I have to demonstrate this to them.


Blogger Jim said...

Does Bullshit (from a caller no less) amount to "including language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance" It's going to be tough to prove that when its the public that said it.

5:58 PM  
Blogger spocko said...

Hi Jim: I see you went and read the rules! Good for you. Well it's really not my call at this point. It's the FCC's and they have already made determinations about the seven words years ago. That hasn't changed on broadcast radio.

As to the caller saying it, the recent Supreme Court decision was about something that Bono said on Fox. Bono wasn't a Fox employee, he was just a guest on the program who won an award.

And we can debate the offensiveness of various words until we are blue in the face, but profanity is different than obscenity and indecency because there are easier bright lines that can be drawn.

Thanks for your comment. And I won't even fix how you wrote the word bulls**t because I am not on commercially supported broadcast radio and I am not regulated by the FCC. :-)

6:23 PM  

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