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TV Timeline


  • 1923 Dr. Vladimir Zworykin invents the iconoscope, an important component in the creation of the television set.

  • 1927 The first transmission of a television picture between two widely separated cities.

  • 1928 GE begins semiregular telecasts from its labs in Schenectady, NY

  • 1929 First primitive color TV

  • 1930 NBC opened experimental TV station W2XBS in New York

  • 1931 CBS opens similar experimental TV station

  • June 19, 1934: 1934 Federal Communications Act Passed, establishing the FCC

  • 1938 NBC transmits several notable telecasts from New York, including scenes from the Broadway play Susan and God starring Gertrude Lawrence.  Interest in the new media begins to pick up.

  • 1938 NBC station carries the first live, unscheduled coverage of a news event in progress.

  • April 30, 1939 TV introduced at the World's Fair

  • 1940 NBC began relaying telecasts to the GE station in Schenectady, thus forming TV's first "network"

  • 1941 NBC New York broadcasts relayed to Philadelphia, giving NBC a threestation "network."

  • 1941 NBC and CBS granted first commercial licenses by the FCC for their New York stations on July 1st.

  • 1944 The DuMont laboratories received a commercial license for WABD, New York.

  • 1945 Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clark writes an article in which he outlines the possibilities for establishing a global communications system using three satellites placed in geosynchronous orbit an equal distance from each other.

  • 1946 Regular network series begin to take a foothold.  Network TV's first major series effort was called Hour Glass. Other series debuting in 1946 included You Are an Artist, Geographically Speaking, Television Screen Magazine, Play the Game, Cash and Carry, Face to Face, I Love to Eat, and Faraway Hill

  • 1947 Kraft Television Theater debuts as the first regularly scheduled drama series to go out over a network. 

  • 1947 World Series coverage brings TV's first mass audience.

  • 1947 Mary Kay and Johnny is TV's first series to show a married couple who shared a bed.  Subsequent sitcoms including I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Donna Reed would show married couples in separate beds.

  • 1948 Cable TV introduced as an alternate television service to households where reception of overtheair TV signals was poor

  • 1948 ABC airs it's first "network" program, On the Corner by using stations owned by DuMont and independent stations.

  • 1948 ABC gets its own New York station and production center and begins network service on a regular basis.

  • 1948 CBS begins network feed.

  • 1948 NBC opens its Midwest network of stations

  • 1948 TV's earliest primetime delivery was on the sitcom Mary Kay and Johnny that starred Mary Kay Stearns and Johnny Stearns who played themselves on the series. In December, 1948 Mary Kay gave birth in reallife to a baby boy named Christopher. Within a month of his birth, the baby was written into the script.

  • 1949 East and Midwest were linked for the first time in a special ceremonial telecast.

  • 1951 West coast is connected to TV network.  Television is now nationwide.

  • 1952: Lucille Ball's pregnancy causes problems for TV censors because the word "pregnancy" is not allowed.  Characters instead make references to Lucy's "expecting."

  • Mid ‘50s – Compatible color TV introduced

  • 1954 First National Color Broadcast (January 1, 1954):  Tournament of Roses Parade.

  • 1956 DuMont goes out of business and ABC earns its place as one of the "big three" networks.

  • Feb 10, 1960: NBC censors won't allow Tonight Show host Jack Paar to tell a joke about a "water closet."

  • 1962: First satellite TV transmission via Telstar I: an eight minute experimental broadcast from France to the US. US Congress approves Communications Satellite Act.

  • 1971 1983: All in the Family's Archie Bunker shocks viewers with his use of racial slurs. For the first time ever, network audiences hear a toilet flush.

  • 1972: US adopts a "Skies Policy" to encourage private industry to enter the satellite business.

  • 1972 TV addresses the topic of abortion on Norman Lear's series Maude.  A twopart episode entitled "Maude's Dilemma" depicted a 45yearold woman named Maude Findlay (Beatrice Arthur) finding herself pregnant and opting for an abortion.

  • 1973: Canada begins operation of Anik 1, the first North American domestic satellite.

  • 1973 First Full Female Nudity on Network TV.  A broadcast on PBS of the play Steambath featured actress Valerie Perrine completely naked.

  • 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."

  • June 21, 1973: US Supreme Court defines obscenity  which is not granted First Amendment protection  in Miller v. California.

  • 1974: Western Union launches Wester 1, soon followed by Westar II, the first domestic satellite for the USA.

  • 1975: HBO establishes the first operational satellite broadcast system on Westar I to send programming to its cable affiliates.

  • 1975 First Uncensored Comedy Special  HBO features Robert Klein exclaiming, "It's subscription…we can say anything.  Sh*t!  How'd you like that?  Sh*t!"

  • 1976: Taylor Howard of San Andreas, California, becomes the first individual to receive C­band satellite TV signals on a home­built system.  Federal Communications Commission issues a declarative ruling stating that 4.5 meter dishes may be acceptable (previous standard was 9 meters), providing the terminals attain certain minimum levels of performance. HBO launches satellite service with " From Manilla" heavyweight boxing match. Ted Turner launches WTBS as America' first "superstation." Christian Broadcasting Network (later to become The Family Channel) launches as the first satellite­delivered programming service.

  • The years 1976 to 1980 saw the beginnings of the satellite TV industry, with the first signals broadcast from HBO (Home Box Office), TBS (Turner Broadcasting System) and CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network, later The Family Channel), the establishment of SPACE, the Society for Private and Commercial Earth Stations (the Satellite Television Industry Association, Inc.) and COMSAT/Satellite Television Corporation's request to construct and operate a Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) system.

  • 1976 First Nipple on Network TV on NBC miniseries Captains and the Kings.

  • 1977 TV's first openly gay series regular, Billy Crystal as Jody on Soap.

  • 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 broadcasts. 

  • 1978: A do­ it ­yourself manual, "low cost satellite ­TV receiving system" is published by Taylor Howard. DTH industry picks up steam as technology is shared between "radio" operators around the world.

  • 1979: FCC makes licensing of satellite dishes voluntary except for satellite dishes used for international communications purposes. Neiman­Marcus features a home satellite TV system from Scientific­Atlanta on the cover of its Christmas catalog for over $36,000. Considered the year for the DTH industry. 5,000 systems shipped, each costing over $10,000.

  • 1980: National Microtech offers the first home satellite system priced below $10,000.  SPACE, the Society for Private and Commercial Earth Stations (the Satellite Television Industry Association, Inc.), is formed in San Jose, California. Satellite Television Corp. (a COMSAT subsidiary) requests FCC authorization to construct and operated a DBS system in the BSS band (12.3 ­ 12.7 GHz), established by WARC­79. In the following seven months 13 additional broadcast direct service (BDS) applications are submitted to the FCC.

  • 1981 Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" anchor Charles Rocket lets a profanity slip and is fired

  • From 1981 to 1985, the "bigdish" CBand satellite market began to take off.  System sales soared as hardware prices fell, and the idea of a practical DBS system was beginning to take shape. Hardware prices begin to drop, estimated 33,500 systems shipped. Stanley S. Hubbard, USSB, files for first DBS license in 1981.

  • 1983: Hughes Communications launches Galaxy I­first satellite dedicated to cable TV distribution.

  • 1984: President Ronald Reagan signs "Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984" including Section 705, a provision legalizing the private reception of unscrambled satellite television programming. Satellite hardware prices drop below $5,000. Industry ships 515,000 systems.

  • 1985: Home Box Office announces its plan to market scrambled HBO and Cinemax programming to home satellite TV viewers via local cable companies. Hardware prices drop below $3,000. Industry enjoys record year, ships 735,000 systems. Reps. Billy Tauzin (D­LA) and Charlie Rose (D­NC) introduce H.R. 1840, a bill guaranteeing access to scrambled satellite TV programming at "reasonable" rates. Senator Albert Gore (D­TN) introduces S. 1618, a companion bill to H.R. 1840.

  • 1986: HBO becomes the first programmer to scramble its movie services full­time. M/A­COM introduces "­alone" VideoCipher II consumer decoder. Industry rocked by negative press coverage and cable­led antidish advertising campaign. Shipments plummet to 235,000 as over 50% of all satellite retailers close their businesses. First integrated receiver/decoder introduced by Houston Tracker Systems. SBCA founded on December 2 as a result of a merger between the Society for Private and Commercial Earth Stations (SPACE) and the Direct Broadcast Satellite Association (DBSA). Federal Communications Commission adopts rule which would preempt local zoning or other regulations governing the size and placement of earth station antennas.

  • 1986 Fox broadcast network launched

  • 1986 First Time the Word "Condom" Used in Prime Time on Cagney & Lacey.

  • 1987: FCC clarifies its earlier ruling calling for non­discrimination against satellite TV antennas and drops requirements.  Senator Gore and Representative Tauzin introduce S. 889/H.R. 1885 ­legislation calling for third­party packaging and consumer access to network signals, among other provisions. Reps. Robert Kastenmeier and Mike Synar introduce H.R. 2848, legislation clarifying the rights of dish owners to continue to access the superstation and network signals. Hardware prices drop to $2,000 as sales continue in the industry. Annual shipments rise slightly, totaling 268,000. First comprehensive programming packages hit the market. Initial reports of VideoCipher II security compromise surface, problem grows throughout the year. Matsushita, as part of joint licensing agreement with COMSAT, begin selling flat plate antennas in Japan.

  • 1988: December 1988  President Reagan signs into law a bill requiring the FCC to implement 18 U.S. Code § 1464 banning indecent broadcasts completely – a 24hour ban. 

  • 1988: SBCA establishes industry­wide Anti­Piracy Task Force (APTF) to combat signal theft problem. President Reagan signs Satellite Home Viewer' Act into law, legislation establishes special copyright license for delivery of superstation and network broadcast signals to DTH marketplace, also toughens penalties for theft of satellite signals. SBCA holds semiannual trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Predictions for dish sales for 1988 at 300,000. Piracy problem escalates. In September, General Instrument announces plans to introduce VideoCipher II Plus within a year.

  • 1989: SBCA launches aggressive anti­piracy program.  Piracy problem persists, VideoCipher II Plus fully introduced in market, Anti­Piracy Task Force conducts major raids of pirate operations nationwide. Industry ships 383,000 units

  • 1990: Satellite industry marks three millionth unit shipped.  Last VideoCipher II is shipped into market.

  • 1990: DC Circuit Court requires the FCC to lift the 24hour ban on indecency

  • 1991: The first lesbian kiss on network television occurred on the 2/7/91 episode of L.A. Law which featured a prolonged kiss between two female lawyers.

  • 1991: Senator Albert Gore (D­TN) reintroduces cable legislation (S­12).  PRIMESTAR launches first medium­powered Ku­band service. General Instrument and SkyPix demonstrate digital video compression.

  • 1992 to present (2004): Satellite television service takes off – estimated 19 million subscribers, making it one of the hottest and fastest growing consumer electronics products of all time.  The industry has seen the delivery of interactive TV services, twoway highspeed Internet access via satellite, and the emergence of satellite radio. Consumer upgrade and conversion to VideoCipher II Plus and VCRS (VideoCipher Renewable Security) begins. Some 400,000 consumers receive new decoders at no charge. Programmers begin shutting down VideoCipher II data stream, VideoCipher II Plus remains secure. Congress overrides President Bush' veto of Cable Act. Legislation guarantees access to satellite­delivered cable programming services by alternative multichannel video providers such as DBS operators. DBS Center announces the one millionth authorized VideoCipher. SBCA President Chuck Hewitt announces that the last half of 1992 is the industry' best since scrambling. General Instrument demonstrates the first satellite ­delivered digital High Definition Television (HDTV). Hughes announces DIRECTV DBS project.

  • 1993: Satellite industry ships 4 millionth home satellite television system. SBCA launches SkyTRENDS project. Programming subscription levels skyrocket as hundreds of thousands of former "" convert to legal subscriptions. Nashville, TN hosts the largest satellite industry trade show in SBCA history as over 6,400 flock to Opryland to visit with new DBS companies.

  • 1993: With NYPD Blue, Steven Bochco launches network TV's first Rrated series. A quarter of ABC's 225 affiliates preempt the first episode. NYPD Blue would also gain infamy as one of the first prime time network series to regularly show naked buttocks. 

  • 1993: First recorded use of the word "asshole" on broadcast TV in PTC's ETS database.

  • 1994: PRIMESTAR rolls out nationwide digital TV service via medium­power Ku­Band satellite. Company unveils plans to transition to high­power DBS operations in 1996. PRIMESTAR ends 1994 with 350,000 units shipped, approximately 250,000 subscribers. Thomson Consumer Electronics sells first DSS system to consumer in Jackson, MS in mid­June. Company, joined by DIRECTV and USSB, launch the first national advertising campaign in DTH history. Thomson ships nearly 600,000 DSS systems by year' end, DIRECTV/USSB report about 350,000 subscribers on­line. C­Band DTH shipments surge to historic levels, hitting nearly 85,000 in August, total 646,000 for the year. At year' end, 2.2 million American households are purchasing programming via C­Band DTH satellite systems.  EchoStar Communications completes $335 million debt offering for DBS service to begin in late 1995.

  • 1994: First recorded uses of the words "screw" and "piss" on broadcast TV in PTC's ETS database.

  • 1995 UPN and WB launched as broadcast networks

  • 1995: AlphaStar announces plans to launch DBS service.  DIRECTV, USSB and PRIMESTAR announce plans to spend nearly $170 million in advertising in 1995. General Instrument begins $15 million Full View Ad campaign. February sees the highest monthly shipment figures for C­band in 1995 ­ 45,000 systems. DIRECTV authorizes Toshiba, Uniden and Hughes Network Systems to manufacture DSS equipment. FCC strips Advanced Communications of 110 degree orbital slot. Four million shares of EchoStar DISH stock offered at $17 ­ $63 million raised. TCI begins trial sales of PRIMESTAR system for $599 (installation included). EchoStar successfully launches DBS­1 satellite. FCC votes to auction DBS channels at 110 degrees.

  • 1995: First recorded use of the word "dick" in PTC's ETS database

  • 1996: AT&T invests $137.5 million for 2.5% of DIRECTV. Companies announce plans for joint marketing efforts.  SBCA conducts largest trade show in Association history at Las Vegas Hilton. EchoStar launches DISH network on March 4. AlphaStar network launches in July 1996. As of November 1996, 2.5 million DSS satellite systems sold in the U.S.

  • Jan 3, 1996: Telecommunications Act of 1996 is passed; allows anyone to enter the communications business – to let any communications business to compete in any market against any other.

  • April 12, 1997: Norm MacDonald lets the fword slip during SNL's "Weekend Update." He is not fired.

  • April 1997 Ellen DeGeneres becomes the first lesbian character to star in a lead role in a prime time series.

  • 1997: First recorded use of the words "tits" and "bullshit" in PTC's ETS databse.

  • 1997: Supreme Court upholds  Pacifica ruling in Reno v. ACLU

  • 1997: PRIMESTAR moves its service to a new mediumpower satellite that increases its capacity to a total of 160 channels. AlphaStar network discontinues service. FCC uses new regulatory authority to overturn restrictive zoning ordinances and private covenants. Librarian of Congress upholds the Copyright Arbitration Rate Panel's (CARP) recommendation to raise the copyright rates for DTH satellite carriers. Congress introduces new legislation that would stay the new rate increases until Congress has time to consider its impact on competition in the video marketplace.

  • 1998: On December 30, 1998, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida issued a permanent injunction in the CBS, Fox v. PrimeTime 24 case. The injunction, when combined with the earlier preliminary injunction issued by the same court, could disrupt service to millions of DTH satellite television subscribers nationwide.  The Federal Communications Commission issued its rules for DBS public service obligations, which were originally mandated by the 1992 Cable Act, requiring DBS providers set aside four percent of their video channel capacity for noncommercial programming of an educational or informational nature, and restricting the number of channels a platform can offer to any single national educational/ informational programmer to one.  Satellite TV surpasses 10 million subscriber mark in November, with DTH adding more than 1.6 million subscribers in 1998. The Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA) launches the TV Antenna Selector Map Program. Using colorcoded maps that match antenna performance, the new program will help satellite retailers and consumers select the appropriate type of antenna based on television reception location. EchoStar Communications and News Corp. agreed to a deal swapping satellite licenses and hardware for common stock shares totaling around $1 billion. The stock transfer of about 24 million shares will give News Corp. a 30 percent share in EchoStar and will give MCI/Worldcom a 7 percent share. Hughes Electronics Corp. Agreed to Buy U.S. Satellite Broadcasting in a Deal Worth $1.3 Billion in Cash and Stocks. The agreement will combine Hughes' DirecTV programming with soontobe former partner USSB's premium movie broadcasts, increasing DirecTV's total channels to 210 from 185. Slightly more than four years after launch, DIRECTV announced that it had reached the 4 million subscriber milestone. PRIMESTAR announced that it had ended plans to create a joint highpower DBS operation at 110 degrees West with the Rupert Murdochowned ASkyB Corporation. The company said that it will concentrate on expansion of its existing mediumpower DBS business while also moving forward to launch a differentiated service using the 11 highpower DBS channels at 119 degrees West which are owned by TEMPO. EchoStar Satellite Corp. and Loral Skynet agreed in principle to form a strategic alliance to offer new digitalbased services to cable operators, programmers, and DTH consumers. According to the companies, the alliance will create the only DVB (digital video broadcast) DTH platform in the United States that allows specialized and mainstream programming to be packaged separately, yet received in the same settop box and accessible through a single smart card and electronic program guide. In August, the FCC issued its Order on Reconsideration on several cases involving satellite dish placement. The FCC ruled against the following restrictions: a central community dish restricting a consumer's right to an individual dish; homeowner's associations or municipalities requiring priorapproval permits for dish installation (except in cases of legitimate safety or historic preservation purposes); mobile home parks restricting residents from installing dishes if they lease the property on which their home rests; and, homeowners associations levying fines against consumers who challenge installation restrictions. Order went into effect January 22, 1999.  The SBCA announced plans to develop and implement an industrywide retail certification and standards program, offering five separate areas of certification including: installation and integration; programming; sales and marketing; business management; and customer service. SBCA '98 First National Convention A Success – The SBCA's firstever national convention, SBCA '98: National Satellite Convention and Exposition, held July 2325 at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN, attracted over 5,000 attendees. AT&T, the nation's largest long distance company and TeleCommunications, Inc. (TCI), the number two cable company in the United States agreed to merge. The deal, valued at nearly $70 billion, set the stage for nationwide local telephone/Internet competition between AT&T and the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs).

  • November 8, 1999  FCC's Enforcement Bureau is established

  • 1999: November: President William J. Clinton signs the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act (SHVIA) into law that for the first time allows consumers to receive their local broadcast signals via their direct broadcast satellite system.  The move is intended to increase competition between the DBS industry and competing multichannel video providers, most notably, cable television.  The SBCA and its member companies worked diligently on Capitol Hill and at the FCC to ensure passage of the legislation.  In January EchoStar Communications announced that its total subscribers numbered over 2 million. Hughes Electronics and DIRECTV announced their agreement with PRIMESTAR, Inc., to acquire the 2.3 millionsubscriber PRIMESTAR direct broadcast satellite mediumpower business and Tempo highpower satellite assets in two transactions valued at approximately $1.82 billion. DIRECTV gains 11 transponders at the 119 degrees West longitude slot, and two satellites (one to be launched as a back up for DIRECTV or other Hughesrelated businesses) from Tempo Satellite Inc. This gives DIRECTV highpower DBS frequencies at each of the three orbital slots that provide full coverage of the continental United States: 101, 110, and now the 119 degrees West longitude slot.

  • 1999: First recorded use of the word "shit" in PTC's ETS database – on CBS's Chicago Hope.

  • March 30, 2001:  FCC imposes its first fine against a television station for an indecent broadcast: a $21,000 fine for television indecency to Telemundo of Puerto Rico

  • April 6, 2001:  FCC Publishes Industry Guidelines on Indecency.

  • 2001: The SBCA and the nation's two Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) television providers, DIRECTV, Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp., filed suit in Federal District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia to protect the First Amendment rights of DBS satellite television providers, programming suppliers and current and future satellite television subscribers all across America.  Beginning on January 1, 2002, the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act (SHVIA) mandates that once a satellite carrier exercises its editorial discretion to provide the programming of any local television broadcast station within that station's local market, the satellite carrier must, upon request, carry without compensation the signals of every television broadcast station located within that local market.  The civil complaint filed today against the United States government, the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Copyright Office challenges the must carry provision (47 U.S.C. § 338) and asks that the court find that it is unconstitutional.  The DBS industry believes that the marketplace should dictate channel carriage, not a federal mandate.

  • January 1, 2003: PTC Launches FCC Campaign

  • January 22, 2003: FCC Commissioner Michael Copps calls broadcast industry "A race to the bottom" in a speech at NAPTE 2003 Family Programming Forum re: Family Hour

  • January 25, 2003: PTC Members file 18,000 complaints about "Fword" airing during Golden Globes Broadcast.

  • February 27, 2003: The Fword is uttered and airs unbleeped during an episode of "I'm a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!"

  • February 27, 2003: Brent Bozell testifies at an FCC town hall meeting in Richmond, VA and calls on the FCC to enforce television decency standards.

  • April 30, 2003 Profamily coalition meets with several FCC commissioners (Copps, Abernathy and Martin) and demands action on the issue of television Decency standards.

  • June 10, 2003 Fox airs an episode of freshman drama Keen Eddie in which a female prostitute is hired to perform a sex act on a horse to harvest its semen.  PTC Members file 20,000 complaints with the FCC.

  • June 25, 2003: Brent Bozell sends a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell regarding an episode of Fox's Keen Eddie.

  • July 2, 2003: Michael Copps gives FCC a grade of "F" for failure to take strong action against indecency.

  • July 8, 2003: Kevin Martin sends a letter to the PTC concerning broadcast indecency and in response to our 4/30 mandate.

  • July 9, 2003: KQRDFM Kansas City airs a live segment in which a male employee of the morning show stands alongside of a rush hour jammed freeway to hand out free lottery tickets.  The man is naked, except for the tickets taped to his body. 

  • July 14, 2003: PTC Kansas City chapter filed a FCC indecency complaint against KQRCFM for its indecent radio stunt

  • 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.

  • August 8, 2003: Sen. John McCain sent Brent a letter as a response to Brent calling for stiffer broadcast indecency fines.

  • October 2, 2003: FCC fines WWDCFM $55,000 for two instances of broadcast indecency where the host of the morning talk program engaged in and broadcast frank sexual discussions with two underage female callers. 

  • October 2, 2003: FCC fines 13 Infinity affiliates $27,500 each for broadcasting an episode of "Opie and Anthony" where two people had sex inside St. Patrick's Cathedral.

  • October 2, 2003: PTC calls for better enforcement of indecency after paltry fines are levied for indecent radio broadcasts on 13 of Infinity's affiliates during the "Opie and Anthony Show" and Clear Channel's "Elliot in the Morning" on WWDCWashington DC

  • October 2, 2003: FCC Commissioner Michael Copps sends out a press release in dissention of the FCC's small fines against radio indecency by "Opie and Anthony" and "Elliot in the Morning."

  • October 3, 2003  FCC enforcement bureau, headed by David Solomon finds that Bono's statement that aired live and unbleeped on NBC during the Golden Globes award ceremony "This is really, really f*ckin' brilliant" is not indecent because it was used as and "Adjective or expletive."

  • October 21, 2003: Brent Bozell calls for FCC Commission action re: fword ruling

  • October 27, 2003: FCC Commissioner Michael Copps sends a letter to Brent in dissent of FCC fword ruling

  • November 17, 2003: NBC replies to PTC's appeal to Golden Globes decision

  • November 21, 2003: 30 U.S. Representatives send a letter of disapproval to FCC Chairman Michael Powell for the FCC's fword 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 fword 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 fword. 

  • December 5, 2003: In a speech to the Institute on Telecommunications Policy & Regulation, FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin denounces FCC's Golden Globes ruling.

  • December 5, 2003: Kevin Martin sends letter to Brent Bozell regarding the FCC's ruling on the Golden Globes "fword" incident.

  • December 9, 2003: Sense of the Senate resolution passed re: broadcast indecency

  • December 10, 2003 During the Billboard Music Awards on Fox, Nicole Riches airs the seemingly scripted line: "Have you ever tried to get cow sh*t out of a Prada Purse?  It's not so f*ckin' simple."  The words are neither bleeped nor obscured in the East or Central viewing zones. PTC Members file 25,000 complaints with the FCC.

  • December 15, 2003: Reps Doug Ose and Lamar Smith introduce legislation making eight words (including "Fk") and phrases indecent no matter how they're used.

  • December 17, 2003:  FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy sends letter to Brent re: FCC's ruling on the Golden Globes "fword"

  • December 19, 2003: Rep. Pickering sends a letter to the FCC's Enforcement Bureau chief David Solomon 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 ruling.

  • 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 tenfold.

  • January 27, 2004: FCC announces secondever 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 $715,000.

  • 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. 

  • Week of February 1, 2004: 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.

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