1934 Federal Communications Act Passed,
establishing the FCC
June 21, 1973 - US Supreme Court defines
obscenity which is not granted First Amendment protection in Miller
October 30, 1973 - A New York radio
station, owned by the Pacifica Foundation, broadcast George Carlin's
"Filthy Words" monologue. A man, driving with his young son heard
the broadcast and wrote a letter to the FCC stating that, although
he could perhaps understand the "record's being sold for private
use, I certainly cannot understand the broadcast of same over the
air that, supposedly, you control."
July 3, 1978 - "Seven Dirty Words" case
decided in the US Supreme Court, FCC v. Pacifica Foundation. Court
holds that the government can Constitutionally regulate indecent
December 1988 - President Reagan signs
into law a bill requiring the FCC to implement 18 U.S. Code § 1464
banning indecent broadcasts completely – a 24-hour ban.
1990 - DC Circuit Court requires the FCC
to lift the 24-hour ban on indecency
1997 - Supreme Court upholds Pacifica
ruling in Reno v. ACLU
November 8, 1999 - FCC's Enforcement
Bureau is established
March 30, 2001 - FCC imposes its first
and only fine against a television station for an indecent
broadcast: a $21,000 fine for television indecency to Telemundo of
April 6, 2001 -- FCC Publishes Industry
Guidelines on Indecency.
October 2001 --PTC announces launch of
FCC Campaign, which begins with the mailing of thousands of
"Community Standards Audits"
January 25, 2003 - PTC Members file
18,000 complaints about "F-word" airing during Golden Globes
June 10, 2003 - PTC Members file 20,000
complaints with the FCC about an episode of "Keen Eddie" in which a
prostitute is hired to perform a sex act with a horse.
July 23, 2003 - PTC President Brent
Bozell testifies before the Senate Commerce Committee that the FCC
has refused to do its job to enforce broadcast decency laws
October 3, 2003 - FCC rules that the
"F-word" used on the Golden Globes was not indecent because it was
used as an "adjective or expletive"
October 21, 2003 - PTC calls for FCC
Commission action re: f-word ruling
October 27, 2003 - FCC Commissioner
Michael Copps sends a letter to PTC in dissent of FCC f-word ruling
November 17, 2003 - NBC replies to PTC's
appeal of FCC's Golden Globes ruling
November 21, 2003 - 30 U.S.
Representatives send a letter of disapproval to FCC Chairman Michael
Powell for the FCC's f-word ruling and call on him to reverse the
decision and sanction broadcasters who violate decency standards.
November 21, 2003 - Rep. Chip Pickering
sends a letter of disapproval to FCC Chairman Michael Powell re:
FCC's Golden Globe f-word ruling and calls on him to enforce the ban
on profanity on the public airwaves.
November 25, 2003 - FCC Chairman Michael
Copps sends Brent a letter stating his opinions re: FCC ruling on
Golden Globes f-word.
December 5, 2003 - In a speech to the
Institute on Telecommunications Policy & Regulation, FCC
Commissioner Kevin Martin denounces FCC's Golden Globes ruling
December 9, 2003 - Sense of the Senate
resolution passed re: broadcast indecency
December 10, 2003 - PTC Members file
25,000 complaints with the FCC about the "F-word" airing during the
Billboard Music Awards
December 15, 2003 - Reps Doug Ose and
Lamar Smith introduce legislation making eight words (including
"F--k") and phrases indecent no matter how they're used.
December 19, 2003 -- Rep. Pickering
sends a letter to the FCC's Enforcement Bureau about the indecent
language on the Billboard Music Awards, stating that he believes the
incident is a direct result of the FCC's October Golden Globes
January 14, 2004 - In a speech at the
National Press Club, FCC Chairman Michael Powell expresses his
interest in reversing the enforcement bureau's ruling on the "Fword"
at the Golden Globes. Powell also asks to be able to increase fines
January 27, 2004 - FCC announces
second-ever fine against a TV station for airing indecent material,
$27,500 against KRON Channel 4 in San Francisco. During an interview
with performers of the "Puppetry of the Penis," who wore capes but
nothing else, one of the actors exposed himself. The FCC said the
station should have expected that such a display could have occurred
and should have taken steps to prevent it.
January 27, 2004 - $755,000 fine against
Clear Channel Communications for a sexually explicit radio show
aired on four stations, the secondhighest such fine ever proposed.
The stations all in Florida aired various episodes of "Bubba the
Love Sponge" a total of 26 times. The commission proposed fining
Clear Channel the maximum $27,500 for each time the episode ran, or
January 28, 2004 - PTC San Antonio
Chapter Director Ray Rossman testifies at FCC Localism hearing in
January 28, 2004 - PTC President Brent
Bozell testifies in Congressional Hearing examining the FCC's record
of enforcement with respect to Broadcast Indecency.
February 1, 2004 - Janet Jackson exposes
her breast during the Super Bowl half time show to a national
audience of over 140 million including more than 16 million
children. More than 200,000 citizens file indecency complaints with
the FCC about the Super Bowl half time show.
February 2, 2004 - FCC Chairman Michael
Powell announces that the FCC will launch an immediate and thorough
investigation of what happened during the half time show.
March 18, 2004 - FCC reverses "F-word"
decision, declaring that "Use of the 'F-word' in the context of the
Golden Globe Awards was profane under 18 U.S.C. Section 1464.
March __, 2004 - FCC fines Clear Channel
$247,500 for a broadcast of "Elliot in the Morning" on WWDC-FM for
nine separate violations. This came on top of a record $755,000 fine
against Clear Channel for a sexually indecent broadcast
March __, 2004 - FCC fines Capstar TX
Limited Partnership $55,000 for broadcast of indecent material over
stations WAVW-FM in Stuart, FL and WCZR-FM in Vero Beach, FL. The
broadcasts contained a dialogue between the hosts and a man and a
woman while they were engaging in actual or simulated intercourse.
_, 2004 - FCC handed down a $27,500 fine
against WKRK-FM in Detroit, MI for "apparently willfully
broadcasting indecent material in connection with the Howard Stern
Show, including a discussion of sexual practices and techniques. The
Commission found that the broadcast included explicit and graphic
sexual and excretory references.
__, 2004 - The FCC affirms a $7,000
forfeiture penalty against Infinity Broadcasting for willfully
airing indecent material over WLLD-FM in Holmes Beach, FL. The
broadcast included a live rap/hip-hop concert which included
references to oral sex and other objectionable material.
April __, 2004 - The FCC issues a
$495,000 fine against six Clear Channel stations for an airing of
Howard Stern's radio program. In response, Clear Channel permanently
removed the shock jock from their stations.
January 24, 2005 - FCC denies 36
indecency complaints filed by the PTC
February 16, 2005 - House Passes H.R.
310 "The Broadcast Indecency Enforcement Act of 2005" by a vote of
February 25, 2005 - FCC denies PTC
complaint on 11/19/03 episode of Angel
February 28, 2005 - FCC rules "Saving
Private Ryan" not indecent.
March 1, 2005 - Sen. Ted Stevens and
Rep. Joe Barton express support for extending decency enforcement to
March 4, 2005 - FCC dismisses complaints
against cable series Nip/Tuck
March 10, 2005 - FCC Chairman Michael
March 14, 2005 - FCC dismisses
complaints about Monday Night Football/Desperate Housewives promo
March 15, 2005 - Senators Hutchison &
Rockefeller introduce S. 616 which would regulate violence and
indecency on cable
March 16, 2005 - Kevin Martin named new
March 28, 2005 - PTC battle against
indecency featured in Time Magazine profile
July 13, 2005 - PTC Files Indecency
Complaint on ABC's Live 8 Broadcast
July 18, 2005 - PTC Files Indecency
Complaint on Fox's The Inside
March 15, 2006 - FCC issues decisions
resolving over 300,000 consumer complaints about the broadcast of
indecent, profane, and/or obscene television programming on nearly
50 television programs broadcast between February 2002 and March
April 14, 2006 - ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC,
their respective network affiliate associations and Hearst Argyle
Television challenge FCC rulings.
April 25, 2006 - PTC and 28 Like-Minded
Groups coordinate "National Call Day" to flood Senate switchboards
demanding passage of broadcast decency enforcement bill.
May 19, 2006 - Senate passes S. 193
which raises maximum penalty for indecency violations to $500,000
June 15, 2006 -- President Bush signs
the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act into law.