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Colorado station protests FCC fine for playing edited rap song

By The Associated Press

07.05.01

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Eminem

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A radio station is protesting a $7,000 fine imposed by federal regulators for airing an edited version of a rap song.

KKMG-FM was fined by the Federal Communications Commission last month for airing the version of Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady." Regulators said the edited version still included some expletives and references to violence and graphic sex. They also said the song was aired during times of day when children were likely to be listening.

On July 2, attorneys for the station's former owner, Citadel Communications, defended the edited version of the song as being fit for the airwaves.

"The [FCC's enforcement bureau] has not adequately considered contemporary community standards, has applied the definition of indecent material far too broadly, and has violated the precept that the government must tread lightly where it ventures into the area of broadcast censorship," the protest filing said.

The filing also said the song does not violate decency standards and instead challenges listeners to consider complex societal issues.

The fine, which came in the wake of an April FCC report clarifying the agency's indecency guidelines, rattled radio station owners across the country because the edited version of the song had been aired tens of thousands of times.

An FCC official previously said that KKMG-FM was singled out because only in Colorado Springs did the song prompt a listener's complaint.

"I think the FCC in issuing the fine has really raised the bar in what constitutes indecent material," attorney Kathleen Kirby said July 2. "I think it'll have a chilling effect on broadcasters' speech."

The FCC's enforcement arm now can reconsider the fine or bring the issue before the full commission.

If the commission affirms the fine, and KKMG-FM refuses to pay it, the case will be turned over to the Justice Department, and the courts ultimately may decide if Eminem's edited song is indecent.

Other radio stations have been penalized recently for violating the FCC's indecency guidelines, including a Madison, Wis., station, which was fined for playing the unedited version of the Eminem song, and a community station in Portland, Ore., which was fined for playing a political rap song.

Update

FCC drops fine over Eminem song
Agency says it lifted $7,000 penalty against Colorado radio station after deciding edited version of 'Real Slim Shady' didn't violate indecency guidelines.  01.09.02

Previous

Colorado radio station fined for airing edited Eminem tune
Others in industry worried by $7,000 penalty because song was broadcast nationwide during spring, summer of 2000.  06.06.01

Related

Documentary explores music's ties to sex, society, censorship
VH1’s ‘From the Waist Down’ focuses on the critical role of popular music in American culture and how establishment figures have tried to curb its influence.  08.01.01

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