Et tu, KPCC?

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The Pasadena public radio station yanked the series "The Play’s the Thing" from its lineup because of a couple of banned words spoken during a Feb. 7 rebroadcast of the off-Broadway hit "Dinah Was," Steven Leigh Morris reports in today's LA Weekly.

In October, president of Southern California Public Radio Bill Davis warned L.A. Theater Works Producing Director Susan Loewenberg that the station would drop the broadcasts “immediately and permanently if LATW persists in delivering programs to KPCC with obscene or indecent language.” Loewenberg says she repeatedly sought clarification of policy from the station over whether potentially offensive plays should run with a listener advisory or be bleeped. She says she never heard back and that Dinah Was ran twice in two years with the listener advisory...

Craig Curtis, program director of KPCC’s parent network, Minnesota Public Radio, describes the pulling of the theater series as coincidental. “This would have happened regardless of Janet Jackson or Sandra Tsing Loh,” says Curtis. “This issue was being discussed for months.”

The KPCC decision is particularly troubling because it applies the “Seven Dirty Words” standard (used by broadcasters since a 1974 Supreme Court decision told comedian George Carlin to wash out his mouth with soap) to works of literature. L.A. Theater Works issues plays that have been produced on the American stage. But Curtis says, “Prevailing standards of decency in the theater and on the radio are different.”

Loewenberg argues: “We’ve done 100 broadcasts for KPCC, for a listenership of at least 5,000, and for all of that, there have been only three complaints that I know of.” Davis says in the story that the station may change its mind.

(Thanks to Bob for the pointer)


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