(Fort Wayne-WANE-March 4, 2004) A formal complaint has been filed with the Federal Communications Commission about radio station indecency in Fort Wayne. A song played yesterday morning on Top Forty station "Hits 96.3" crossed the line according to one Fort Wayne man.
Shannon Johnson says, "What I heard yesterday morning on the radio shocked me."
He was taking his 18 year old son to school when he heard Eminem's new song, "My Band," debut on "Hits 96.3."
Eminem is historically a controversial artist who's known for explicit lyrics and often offensive, profane, even suggestive topics. But, Johnson's complaint isn't with Eminem.
"More power to Eminem. He can get as offensive as he wants," says Johnson. "But, the public airwaves are no place for that kind of language or suggestive topics and themes. So I blame 96.3 and therefore Travis Broadcasting."
Johnson filed a formal complaint with the FCC saying that at approximately 7:20 Wednesday morning a clear and unmistakable song lyric assaulted his sensibilities.
Because of the nature of the lyrics, WANE-TV will not repeat the lyrics, but we can tell you they are sexually explicit and graphic. However, "Hits 96.3" did provide us with a copy of the authorized radio edited version of the song. The version Travis Broadcasting claims aired on its station. We listened to it and no where in the edited version did we hear the lyrics Shannon Johnson claims he unmistakable heard.
In a statement provided to us by Travis Broadcasting, the owners of "Hits 96.3", the CEO of the company says, "At no time did "Hits 96.3" air obscene or indecent words as claimed by Mr. Johnson. The clear and unmistakable phrase simply did not air on WNHT. Thus, this complaint is false."
It is standard practice of radio stations to keep air checks or copies of what is aired on the station. NewsChannel 15 requested an air check from the time in question, but our request was denied.
Johnson says he hopes the FCC holds Travis Broadcasting accountable for abusing the public airwaves. "I am all for freedom of speech, but freedom of speech does not mean anything goes," says Johnson. "I would like to see a fine because it's not like there hasn't been ample warning."
A House committee voted Wednesday to increase from $27,500 to $500,000 the fines that could be imposed on broadcasters for airing indecent material.
And, NewsChannel 15 told you last week, several radio stations have adopted "Zero Tolerance Indecency Policies" for its DJ's.