If all goes as the White House has planned, at 11 a.m. Thursday morning, with the stroke of President George W.Bush's pen, braodcasters will face a 10-times higher fine for indecency violations.
That's when he is slated to sign the Broadcast Indecency Enforcement Act in a White House ceremony, according to his schedule released late Wednesday night.
The stripped-down bill, which simply raises the fines, got a quick trip through Congress as the midterm election approached after a slow one over the past two-and-a-half years. The so-called Brownback bill, after Senator and presidential hopeful Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who pushed through the Senate version, boosts the maximum fines to $325,000 from the current $32,500.
But the bill is essentially identical to one first introduced by Rep.Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee.
Broadcasters have challenged some of the FCC's latest fines in court, though the net effect of the hearings and publicity surrounding the bill's two-year trek has been sel-regulation, including the firing of shock jocks and the editing of content.