Smut Spike All PTC's Doing - Broadcasting & Cable

Smut Spike All PTC's Doing

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As expected, it turns out the spike in FCC complaints in July was mostly attributable to Parent's Television Council. But just "how" mostly came as something of a surprise.

After a steep drop in indecency complaints at the FCC in second quarter 2005, the number bounced back in the third quarter.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, indecency/obscenity complaints quadrupled to 26,185 from 6,161 logged during the previous three months. Almost all of that spike came in July (23,547), with only 1,716 complaints in August and 922 in September.

According to PTC's Web site, the group filed a total of 23,542 complaints in July (10,775 against Fox and 12,767 against ABC).That would account for all but five of the FCC complaints for the month. Let'srepeat that.Out of 23,547 complaints in July, PTC claims 23,542.

The quarter increase follows several quarters of large declines.

Indecency and obscenity complaints against broadcast TV and radio had dropped from 157,016 in first quarter 2005 to 6,161 in the second quarter, when, as it turns out, PTC filed no complaints. The latter figure compares with 272,818 complaints in second quarter 2004.
The FCC doesn't routinely make the individual complaints public, but culprits in the third quarter appear to be programs on ABC and Fox. The PTC, whose members often complain in bulk via an online e-mail form on the organization's Web site, filed two complaints in July against shows on each network.

The first complaint, filed July 14, came after ABC allowed the f-word to slip by its screeners and into a broadcast of Live 8: A Worldwide Concert July 2. ABC conceded that it missed the offending lyric in the East Coast feed—after catching other expletives before they made it to air—but says it edited out the lyric from the West Coast feed.

The second complaint was filed July 18 over an episode of Fox's summer psychological thriller, The Inside, which PTC said included themes of forced sodomy and S&M fetishes.

PTC may soon get some competition from the forces for decency. The American Family Association has added an e-mail complaint form to the home page of its Web site.

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