Court To Get Profanity Earful Aug. 8


The Federal Appeals Court in New York wants to hear from both sides on the FCC's request to get another crack at four profanity decisions challenged in that court by broadcasters.

The court told attorney's this week that it would hear oral arguments from "any party desiring" to weigh in on the FCC remand request and oppositions to that request on Aug. 8 at 2 p.m.

Broadcasters challenged the four decisions, saying they were unconstitutional. The FCc attached no fines to the decisions and no black marks on a station's record, saying it was because they all happened before it toughened/clarified its enforcement of profanity restrictions and, it said, to give broadcasters the further indecency/profanity enforcement clarity they lacked.

Broadcasters didn't see it that way, and said they also couldn't be sure a future FCC wouldn't hold them against the stations anyway.

The FCC then asked the court to let it reconsider those four, giving the stations a chance to defend themselves, which that hadn't gotten. ABC and three of the four affiliate associations supported the remand, while CBS, NBC, Fox and Fox affiliates opposed it, saying the court needed to hear the broadcasters challenge as soon as possible.

The court stayed the filing of opening briefs in the case, which had been scheduled for earlier this month, and now won't be able to start until after it hears argument and rules on the remand.