Posted: Jan. 21 at 2:40 p.m. ET
The Parents Television Council has cautioned broadcasters and cable operators about airing the new Britney Spears song, "If You Seek Amy", a double entendre for the F-word that PTC says would violate the FCC's indecency policy.
The FCC under former Chairman Kevin Martin had been cracking down on profanity, but that stepped-up enforcement regime was called into questions by court rulings that the commission had been arbitrary and capricious.
PTC, whose complaints against Janet Jackson helped fuel the FCC's indecency crackdown, advised broadcasters to envision parents and children riding together with the radio on. That is the scenario that prompted the FCC to assert its indecency authority some 30 years ago in the Pacifica case.
“It’s one thing for a song with these lyrics to be included on a CD so that fans who wish to hear it can do so; but it’s an entirely different matter when this song is played over the publicly-owned airwaves, especially at a time when children are likely to be in the listening audience," said PTC president Tim Winter in an advisory.
PTC did not threaten to complain to the FCC about the song, but said it was cautioning parents and the media, including "cable music channels," about when and whether to air it.
The FCC prohibits indecent broadcasts between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., but has no similar authority over cable.