Nearly 50 complaints filed.
The Federal Communications Commission will rule on 40-50 radio indecency complaints within the next 2-4 weeks, revealed an agency member close to the situation. Rulings on an equal number of TV complaints are also expected within the same time frame.
New chairman Kevin Martin has made clearing a backlog in the commission's indecency docket a top priority. After writing a record-setting number of fines last year, the FCC hasn't written a single Notice of Apparent Liability for indecency this year.
Zero-tolerance policies issued by several broadcasters in the wake of 2004's election-year indecency furor haven't silenced morality crusaders like Jack Thompson. As widely reported earlier, the Florida-based attorney has filed a complaint against Infinity Broadcasting for material broadcast on the Howard Stern Show. The complaint has not yet progressed beyond the Letter Of Inquiry stage.
However, as part of its slate-cleaning, record-breaking $1.75 million settlement with the FCC last year, Infinity Broadcasting agreed to suspend any air talent subsequently cited in a Notice Of Apparent Liability-- and to fire the personality if the fine was upheld.
The commission's Enforcement Bureau is wrapping up its recommendations on the complaints and plans to forward them to the four commissioners, who would then require an additional 2-3 weeks to either substantiate or dismiss the alleged violations.
In February, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill to raise indecency fines to up to half a million dollars and added an amendment to allow fines to be imposed on individual performers. The Senate has yet to vote on a similar piece of legislation.