View Full Version : FCC fines radio station for Eminem song

June 6th, 2001, 04:03 PM
By Pamela McClintock

Federal regulators have slapped a Colorado radio station with a $7,000 indecency fine for playing
Eminem's ``The Real Slim Shady,'' even though the provocative and raunchy ditty was edited for the airwaves.

The Federal Communications Commission's June 1 order is sure to spark alarm among program directors, who generally
assume that a label's edited version provides immunity from obscenity and indecency rules.

In the case of KKMG-FM in Colorado Springs, the FCC said the station must be brought to bear for playing the Eminem tune,
even if the version played was toned down for air.

Citadel Communications, parent company of KKMG, told the FCC that the station was not in violation of any rule, since
various expletives were deleted in the edited version provided by Interscope Records.

Not good enough, according to the FCC.

``The edited version of the song contains unmistakable offensive sexual references. In this regard, portions of the lyrics contain
sexual references in conjunction with sexual expletives that appear intended to pander and shock,'' the FCC said.

Fine comes less than two months after the FCC issued new guidelines to be used when determining what is obscene and
indecent. These guidelines made it clear that innuendo is a factor, even if specific expletives are missing.

Indecency has long been defined by the FCC as broadcast programming that describes or depicts sexual or excretory organs or
activities. Agency is allowed to take complaints from the public on indecent material and act upon them, albeit with restrictions
as it's still protected speech under the First Amendment.

Recording Industry Assn. of America topper Hilary Rosen asserted that the airing of the ``Slim Shady'' radio edit falls squarely
under that protection.

``It would be a disgrace if the FCC were to impose a violation on a radio station because they didn't like the 'suggestive' nature
of a song.'' Rosen told Daily Variety. ``That goes right to the heart of idea-based censorship.''

The FCC's ban on patently offensive broadcasts runs from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., the hours when kids are most likely to be tuning

Citadel made no excuses for repeatedly playing the edited song throughout the summer and spring of 2000, at all hours.

The track in question, actually one of the tamest offerings on the ``Marshal Mathers LP,'' Eminem's latest Interscope release,
nonetheless includes numerous references to acts of violent misogyny and graphic sex.

Wiley, Rein & Fielding attorney Kathleen Kirby, who represents Citadel, said the $7,000 fine could set a risky precedent for
the countless other radio stations across the country which have played the same edited Eminem song.

``The danger involved is that folks at the station level can't take comfort in the fact that something labeled 'radio edit version' is
in compliance with the FCC's rules,'' Kirby said.

Interscope reps were not available for comment.


Now, I understand why they are fining. But there is the amendment to freedom of speech, is there not? Though, I agree, Eminem could tone it down alot and be more curtious. But, that's not what sells.

Again, there is also the freedom to protest.

I was just wondering what all of you thought on this...

June 6th, 2001, 04:26 PM
On the one hand, any taking away of freedom of speech annoys the bits out of me. Even if people (myself included) don't agree with what he has to say, he still has a right to express it, according to the Constitution.

On the other hand... hmm, trying to get my thoughts together. I'll be back in a little bit. :)

June 6th, 2001, 11:00 PM
Well, I for one, am not a Marshall Mather's fan. In fact, I can't stand the guy. However, I do not think that radio stations should be fined for playing his music. Yes, it's definitely a "freedom of speech" thing. That's why there are also radio tuners. You don't want your kid listening to it, change the darn channel. What's next, finning DJ's for speaking out against it? I wouldn't doubt it. I hope the station appeals the fine. We can't let this happen. Who will be the one's to decide what's offensive and what's not. Only we ourselves, can decide what offends us. What may offend me, might now offend my neighbor. Example, my boyfriend loves these radio DJ's called "Opie & Anthony" they are similar to Howard Stern. They raunchy, offensive, and in my opinion, just plain stupid. But he loves them. He's good enough not to listen to them when I'm in the car, and when my son is with him. Do I think they should be off the air? No. I change the channel. The radio station Howard broadcasts from, is one of my favorites, but the hours he's on, I don't listen. Cause I can't stand him either. Should their stations be fined (in Howard's case it was). No. They have every right to say and act the way they want.

Well, I'm more than likely rambling. So I'll stop. I hope I made some sense

June 19th, 2001, 12:51 AM
On MTV, they had a news bulletin about a summit rap musicians attended, where they resolved to change the image of rap. They also mentioned this incident, and one person, (I forget who) said that they were considering it a vendetta against rap music in general, not just Eminem. I don't really think that assumption could be made unless other rap music had been banned. What do you guys think?

June 19th, 2001, 02:19 AM
That's effing retarded...The FCC is getting entirely too big for their britches.
Despite the fact that I don't mind Eminem's brand of humor most of the time, (I have a very blurry line between 'funny' and 'wrong') it shouldn't be played unedited on the radio. But this was *edited*. That's the purpose of edited versions!