Date: 1954- Present
Region: North America
Subject: Profanity, Explicit Sexuality
Artist: Howard Stern, Infinity Broadcasting Corporation
Confronting Bodies: Federal Communications Commission
Dates of Action: 1988-1994
Location: New York, NY and nationwide
Description of Artwork: Howard Stern's commentary referenced sexual and excretory activities and organs during his syndicated radio show.
The Incident: The FCC fined Infinity Broadcasting Corporation, the New York-based radio company that syndicates controversial radio personality Howard Stern, $500,000. It was the fifth such fine the government has meted out for Stern's allegedly indecent programming and the second in two days. The fine was the second largest ever handed out for a violation of the so called indecency rule. In December, 1992 Infinity was fined $600,000 for a separate series of Stern shows. Stern has generated more than $1.2 million in fines since 1988. Almost all of it has been against stations owned by Infinity Broadcasting. Infinity has vowed in the past to fight the fines and has appealed to the First Amendment. Yet there is evidence that, faced not only with the fines but with a drop in the number of stations willing to carry Stern, Infinity itself is taking steps to restrain the shock jock.
Results of Incident: In a letter dated July 23, 1993, Infinity told the FCC that it had undertaken "continuous review and modification" of Stern's program to comply with the rules. Since December 2, 1992, these measures have included placing the broadcasts under a multiple-delay mechanism, which permits the company to bleep out potentially offensive material.
Source: Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association