Indecency on broadcast TV between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when children are likely to be watching, is against the law. And the FCC is charged by Congress with enforcing that law. How many stations in the continental United States has it fined over the years since its enforcement division was formed for broadcasting indecent material? According to a review of the FCC's Web site, the answer is … none.
Martha Kleder of the Culture and Family Report recently reported on yet another dramatic example of how the FCC is failing the fight for any community standards in radio broadcasting while it nibbles around ownership quotas. In San Jose, Calif., KSJO-FM pays for billboards that scream, "Listen to Mikey before we fire him … again."
Last July, shock jock Mikey Esparza was suspended with apologies from Clear Channel (that supposedly conservative outfit) after a brave 7-year-old girl, Erica Pratt, escaped from kidnappers in Philadelphia days after the media focused on the abduction of Elizabeth Smart. Pratt had chewed through her duct-tape restraints.
Esparza brazenly joked on the air: "That's why I don't use duct tape. That's why I use nylon rope." Following a commercial break, Esparza continued: "Let's say, for instance, you're somebody that is a kidnapper. Think of all the nylon rope you could get at Orchard Supply Hardware. Plus, they sell tarps ... I'm sure they sell lye to dissolve the body."
How on Earth does any responsible broadcaster not only hire this sicko, but also give him repeated opportunities to disgust? And even use billboards to advertise: Listen to him for his next outbreak of madness?
Esparza was soon back on the air and unrepentant. On Sept. 4, 2002, KSJO aired a self-produced song written by Esparza called -- I'm not making this up -- "The Statutory Rape Song." The lyrics included: "Check out that cute little girl over there, is she 9 or is she 12 ... I'm feelin' frisky, I know it's risky. Friday night I need a bite, underage girls with some cellulite." The song concludes with the words, "I like to videotape, I'm into statutory rape." Unbelievably, after another suspension, the station put him back on the air this January.
Local citizens were filing complaints with the FCC Enforcement Bureau a year ago. How much has been done or said here in Washington? Nothing. That's where the public's outrage ought to be directed -- at the actual content of what shameless media companies will put on the air to make a filthy buck.