At a Hill hearing on the XM/Sirius merger–they seem to come along every few minutes like Metro trains–broadcaster Mary Quass opined that broadcasters didn't get to carry the same kind of adult fare that satellite radio do.
Not exactly, and I would argue that broadcasters don't do enough to point out how responsibly given the programming they could air.
Broadcasters are free to air strings of F-words, full frontal nudity–and back-al nudity and side-al nudity for that matter–and do so with inpugnity so long as it is after 10 p.m. and before 6 a.m. They don't because they program to their audiences, and they obviously don't think that is what their audience wants, although audience tastes must change on travel given the extent of TV porn in hotels the world over.
Now, I realize that when broadcasters are arguing that they don't compete directly with satellite radio in the national, mobile, bundled, unregulated space, "unregulated" needs to be part of their message.
And I think broadcasters should be free to program edgy content whenever they feel that edge is what viewers want, particularly now that they have a ratings system and V-chip to block unwanted content.
But, I think broadcasters don't make enough of the point that just because they are free to program whatever they want at 10 p.m. doesn't mean they drop their own standards and chase the dollar into every nook and cranny.
By John Eggerton