Free Speech and the Air Waves

Thursday, February 26th, 2004 | Politics, Soapbox

You know… I’m not the biggest fan of Howard Stern. I think he’s a brash blow hard who relies on shock appeal to maintain listeners with very little interesting content or important issues to justify the shock. Those who know me know that I’ve got a tendency to listen to obnoxious radio like the right wing shows and the relgious right – largely to sharpen my tallons. I listen to these to understand where they’re coming from because, even if I think their position is insane and hateful, at least it has been considered and refined over time and its hard to prepare to debate issues if you don’t understand the counter point.. But Howard Stern is a different matter – he’s just trying to shock for the pure sport of it often and invariably after listening to him for any length of time I find myself screaming ‘WHAT THE FUCK’ at the radio and changing the chanel.

All that said I find this very disturbing:

Radio giant suspends Stern in crackdown against indecency

Not because I need to defend the man.. But more from the perspective that any large radio or TV conglomerate having ownership of a large enough swath of the broadcasting frequencies has the ability to silence any perspectives that they don’t agree with and essentially inhibit free speech.. The idea that one company has the ability to control in any way what we see and hear scares the living shit out of me. Radio and TV already has a frightening ability to influence the perspectives of the politics of this country by controlling how information is presented and the only saving grace in this is the fact that ownership is distributed and no single opinion dominates… The idea that a ‘holding company’ can control the content of its affiliates is very dangerous…

anyway… I need to get back to work… just pushed my buttons so I figured I’d say something.. Now back to your regularly scheduled broadcast.. 😉