- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Church coalition against merger
A group representing more than 16,000 black and Hispanic churches has urged federal media regulators to reject the merger of XM Satellite Radio Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., citing its objections to a segment of Sirius shock jock Howard Stern’s show in which audio clips of country singer Dolly Parton were manipulated into racist and sexually vulgar comments.
In a June 21 letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, the National Black Church Initiative said, “There is no ‘public interest’ in allowing Mr. Stern a larger platform to spew his filth.”
The group cites a May 6 show in which Mr. Stern aired clips of Miss Parton apparently using racial slurs and describing vulgar sexual acts, mentioning other celebrities including Kenny Rogers, Linda Ronstadt, Burt Reynolds and Johnny Carson. The sound bites are manipulations of an audio-book recording by Miss Parton.
The incident is hardly the first time Mr. Stern has sparked outrage for lewd comments. But since he left broadcast radio in 2006 - after signing a five-year, $500 million contract with Sirius - his show is no longer subject to federal indecency standards. Regardless, the National Black Church Initiative is using the clip to ask the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to urge federal media regulators to reject the deal outright.
“The notion that Mr. Stern, through the proposed monopoly-merger of Sirius and XM Satellite Radio, may soon have twice the spectrum to disseminate such despicable content is simply disgracefully,” wrote the Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the group.
The pending merger between XM and Sirius, announced in February 2007, was approved without conditions by federal antitrust officials in March. The deal is awaiting the green light of the FCC, whose determination hinges on whether it would be in the public interest.
Mr. Martin, a Republican, earlier this month announced his support for the merger after XM and Sirius agreed to a number of conditions, including a three-year price freeze and leasing 8 percent of their combined channels for minority-owned programming and noncommercial programming. The agency’s remaining commissioners, two Republicans and two Democrats, have yet to publicly disclose their intentions.
Members of the CBC had previously called for 20 percent of channels to be set aside for minority programmers.
Calls to the offices of CBC Chairwoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Michigan Democrat, and Rep. G.K. Butterfield, the North Carolina Democrat who chairs the CBC’s working group on satellite radio, were not returned Wednesday.
FCC spokesman Robert Kenney said the agency has received the letter, which is being reviewed by the chairman’s office.
A spokesman for Sirius did not respond to a request for comment.
Communications lawyer Harry Cole dismissed objections over the content of Mr. Stern’s show as “raising no substantive issues.”
“This is a satellite, subscription service we’re talking about, as opposed to over-the-air broadcast, which is subject to a different set of standards, a different set of rules. That’s one of the reasons, as I understand it, Stern left for satellite - because he would not be constantly concerned about whether the FCC would come after him for alleged indecency violations,” said Mr. Cole of Arlington-based Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth PLC. Mr. Cole briefly performed on Mr. Stern’s show in the early 1980s.
The merger between XM and Sirius has been opposed by consumer advocates such as the Consumer Federation of America, anti-media consolidation groups including Free Press, and traditional broadcasters led by the National Association of Broadcasters.
About the Author
Kara Rowland, White House reporter for The Washington Times, is a D.C.-area native. She graduated from the University of Virginia, where she studied American government and spent nearly all her waking hours working as managing editor of the Cavalier Daily, UVa.’s student newspaper.
Her interest in political reporting was piqued by an internship at Roll Call the summer before her ...
- London Olympics not everyone's cup of tea
- Obama hits road to push jobs plan
- Obama calls for the end of 'political circus' on economy, seeks stimulus plan for jobs
- Brennan: Al Qaeda is 'organization in distress'
- Hoffa's words about labor's importance brushed off
Latest Blog Entries
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow