Gripes of Wrath: Mid-2009 was decent for broadcasters


The latest figures from the FCC on citizen inquiries and complaints are out, and on the indecency front, there didn’t seem to be much going on. The number of complaints for both the second and third quarters of the year was down sharply from Q1 2009, and were well below year-to-year comps with the same two quarters in 2008.

During Q2 last year, there were only 12.9K complaints over broadcast indecency or obscenity, with the vast bulk coming in April, when the FCC fielded 9.1K of them. That was way down from Q1’s 181.1K and about half as many as Q2 2008’s 25.1K total.

The number of complaints in Q3 was way down, at 3K, compared to 37.5K in Q3 2008.

For those of you keeping score at home, there were 36.7K such complaints in Q4 2008.

RBR-TVBR observation: With cases in court and a huge backlog of unresolved complaints, the issue of broadcast indecency is very much in flux, and the possibility of a major dam burst is present. These statistics show that broadcasters aren’t pouring significantly more water into the indecency reservoir, but even that is potentially controversial – is it evidence that uncertainty over enforcement is chilling free speech and broadcast of live programming? Stay tuned.