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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 37171, Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004

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Location: Washington, DC


PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 3717, BROADCAST DECENCY ENFORCEMENT ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - March 11, 2004)

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Mr. UPTON. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 ½ minutes to the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Walden), who offered a very constructive bipartisan amendment that is part of the package of this bill.

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for his work on this legislation.

I want to acknowledge up front that I am a broadcast licensee, owner and operator of five radio stations, and I am very supportive of this bill in this form.

It was time that the broadcast community cleaned up the airwaves, that owners took the responsibility to make sure that the talent on their shows operated within the bounds of the law. It is important to note that this legislation does not change the standards that have always been on the books and recognized by the courts when it comes to clean talk on the airwaves.

This legislation, though, gives the FCC the fining authority it needs to deal with egregious violations of the law and also the incentive it needs to act, and act more appropriately.

For those of us who are small-community broadcasters, it also recognizes that the fine should fit and the punishment should be fair; and, therefore, it recognizes both the role of affiliates and their liabilities versus those providing the programming, as well as having the FCC recognize market size when levying fines. Because, indeed, a fine of a half a million dollars on a small-market broadcaster could spell bankruptcy, when on a large conglomerate, it may be just another cost of doing business.

I want to conclude my remarks this morning by having Americans and Members in this Chamber recognize fully that the actions that are taken by some broadcasters are not the actions taken by most broadcasters. Allowing indecent, profane, and obscene language on stations is something most of us find offensive, just as most Americans do. Broadcasters have made enormous contributions to their communities, raising money for charity, helping in emergencies, and providing that vital communication link.

Mr. Chairman, I support this bill. I thank the Chairman for his support of the amendments that were included.

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