Time to play “what if” for a moment. Whether or not you’re in my line of work, you’re well aware various sectors of the broadcast industry have been scrutinized ever since the Super Bowl XXXVIII incident where Janet Jackson’s breast was bared.
Let’s say this unfortunate situation cropped up in Super Bowl XXVIII. Yes, I intentionally left out an X in the Roman numerals. If this had happened ten years ago, I bet you the following would happen…
\ Shock jocks such as Howard Stern would either be out of business or not as shocking by now.
\ NYPD Blue probably wouldn’t be quite as, well, blue. (FWIW, the ABC station in Biloxi *still* won’t air this cop drama. It’s not often I get to catch the reruns on cable.)
\ Soap operas, among the latest components in the industry with bullseyes on their backs, wouldn’t be quite as racy.
\ The penalties for any infraction would be about a half-a-million bucks by now. (That’s the proposed penalty as of this writing.)
…I could go on and on. But what I’m saying is a standard for excellence would be raised big time.
I try to play by the rules as best I can. Take Rock 104’s RockTrax for example. Even though we target our station to an adult audience, I know young ears are listening. So, at worst, I try to keep my show PG-rated. Last Sunday, I noted the syndicated program that follows my show was going to do a two-hour profile of the rock band U2.
Doug’s Place Flashback: If you know about U2, you know the band’s lead singer Bono said, “This is really, really, (rhymes with “ducking”) brilliant,” during a live telecast of the Golden Globe Awards on NBC. (For the newest visitors of Doug’s Place, I must note for full disclosure’s sake I work for an NBC affiliated station in addition to working part-time for a classic rock radio station.) Odd thing is this incident went unpunished since the supposed offending word that rhymed with “ducking” was used as an adjective rather than a verb. Today, I’m still scratching my head over that.
So, I said on the air Sunday, “Later tonight on The Classics, Steve Downes profiles U2. Hey, that’s just (BLEEP) brilliant.” The “BLEEP” was actually me turning off my microphone for a second; during that second of self-imposed silence, I played an engineer’s test cue tone off of one of the music CD’s provided by a service the radio station subscribes to.
In short, I didn’t say the F-word — but pretended like I did and had it censored.
I’ve done similar stunts when reading news stories on the air about The Osbournes. Since it seems like about every fifth word on that show is bleeped, why not lampoon that mentality by (BLEEP) censoring me about every fifth (BLEEP) word in the (BLEEP) (BLEEP) script.
If only all of the rest of the broadcast world would show such restraint. When you play by the rules, you don’t get penalized. And when that happens, it’s… well… brilliant.
Oh, one more thing, I know what you sickos are thinking. What if Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” occurred on the 30th NFL championship game (read: Super Bowl XXX)?