Writing as a "frequent listener," LAT Business columnist Michael Hiltzik points out in Monday's "Golden State" column that Clear Channel has approved of Howard Stern's radio crudeness for years and years. Only after the furor over Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl did Clear Channel object to Stern or fired Florida DJ Bubba the Love Sponge. He argues that FCC chief Michael Powell and his support for media consolidation are the real culprits in the indecency wars.
The concentration of ownership in fewer hands is what allows the trends Powell now deplores, such as vulgarity and crassness, to spread unchecked through the airwaves, like a virus raging through a population without antibodies. If MTV and CBS were owned by separate companies rather than jointly, would the former have been able to produce the Super Bowl halftime show to air on the latter's network without first having even a token discussion of standards and taste?