The Ripple from the Nipple

Who could have foreseen that exposing a nipple on a television screen could possibly jeopardize live shots in local news. Huh? What’s the connection here?
Well, according to an article by Brooks Boliek in the Hollywood Reporter, “…in a continuing crack down on on-air profanity the FCC has requested numerous tapes of broadcasters that might include vulgar remarks by unruly sports spectators, coaches and athletes at live sporting events.”
The article goes on the say the FCC has requested 30 tapes of live sporting and news programs where profanity was involved.
What has been deemed indecent speech can be aired safely between 10pm and 6am (not sure if that is Central or Eastern time).
If I understand this correctly, some yahoo who gets through the screening process for a town hall meeting during prime time can utter the “F’ word or tell someone to eat “s**t” and “BAM”, the station is facing a fine up to $325, 000. That’s up from the previous maximum of $32, 500, with the boost in fines thanks to the outrage over people seeing Janet Jackson’s nipple on the air back during the SuperBowl debaucle.
Granted, you can pre-screen participants at the town hall meeting but get around some folks who’ve had too much to drink (Memphis in May Barbecue Fest, and MidSouth Fair to name a couple) and it might give pause for some to reconsider those live shots or at least make them all “look-lives”. I’m familiar with seven second delays for audio, but not for video.
Then there’s the live shot at the scene of a crime or after a hotly contested trial where emotions are running high and the enterprising reporter grabs a person from the crowd to get reaction and you get the idea of what could happen. Don’t forget about those live phoners from people who have called in during severe weather. All it takes is someone to get a little excited as they describe those powerful storm winds and the fact that “sh*t is blowing around everywhere”. Yah, it makes some powerful TV and now a potentially hefty fine.
Then there are the cases where the reporter is live and being harassed by the crowd to the point that he or she loses it. How many times have you heard about reporters who thought they were off the air and using language they shouldn’t. It’s enough to give a manager nightmares.
There was a time when people would act decently when they get around a TV camera, especially when they knew it was live. Not anymore. I know I wouldn’t bet on it.
Accidents happen and words slip on occasion. But with the FCC determined to crack down, live shots could become less live and less common.

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3 Comments on “The Ripple from the Nipple”

  1. Average Guy Says:

    Why ordinary people turn to complete moron when they see a TV camera is beyond me. What is the thought process. “let me see, I can act like an idiot and confirm to thousands of people what my friends and family already know — that I’m a loser.” Yeah, that’s smart!

    As they tell football players when they score a touchdown and are tempted to do the end zone dance. Act like you’ve been there.

    Final note, as management the new fines are scary as he!! and will force our live production to be more scripted and less spontaneous. That is a shame.

    The GM

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I believe it’s irresponsible for tv stations to not do a delay on live programming. you never know what’s going to happen and the station has the responsibility to do EVERYTHING it can.

  3. Matt Says:

    If you are so concerned about having a F-bomb covertly droped on you while in the comfort of your own home, all I can say is that you might have to avoid live brodcasts. Isht Happens, its unfortunate, nobody wants it to happen, but occasionally it does. 300 and some thousand dollar fines for these slip ups is completly over the top and protects no one. Do you keep your childern out of all public places for the fear of overhearing one of these gastly words? If not, then what’s the real harm in one getting loose in the background of a live broadcast?


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