BC DC

FCC For $2000

1/19/2011 08:15:20 PM

I just tuned in to the primetime access game show, Jeopardy!, to find that the show’s contestants were answering questions in an “FCC” category.

I am not a regular watcher, so someone else will have to fill me in on whether that was unusual or not. CBS Television Distribution syndicates the show, so perhaps it should be no surprise that two of the questions were about indecency, that and the fact that content regulation is, sadly, the issue most people associate with the FCC.

One question was about the FCC’s $550,000 fine of CBS Television Stations. The answer was “Janet Jackson.” Another was about whose “filthy words” prompted a 1978 Supreme Court decision allowing the FCC “to censor” broadcast TV.  That answer, of course, was George Carlin.

The other questions were about Wi-Fi, cell phones and the DTV transition.

I kind of wish they had asked the question. “What FCC rule allowed TV stations to reclaim a half hour of primetime from the networks at 7:30 to 8 p.m. weekdays, prompting not a spate of locally-produced public affairs shows, but instead paving the way for the success of lucrative first-run series in which stations could sell high-priced ad time, particularly arguably the most successful show, a game show distributed by King World (Now CBS Television Distribution) whose one-word title is a synonym for “risk.”

I know, that is one of those compound questions lawyers talk about, but here’s a hint. The answer is in the lead.

March