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They said it in 2004: March

As the old year exits stage right and the new year makes its way to center stage, we thought we'd string together a compendium of quotes which appeared in TVBR and RBR during the past year. Today: March 2004

* "Although this isn't the case with every licensee, in the past Clear Channel has admitted wrong-doing and paid its fines without contesting the allegation. Upping the ante to include revocation as a sanction will put an end to that, since we will have no choice but to protect our company's assets." - - Clear Channel's John Hogan telling the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet that his company would be forced to defend itself if license revocations become part of indecency proceedings (3/1/04 RBR #41)

* "What's truly indecent about this situation is how big media is trying to absolve itself of complying with FCC regulations by making its employees pay fines that are only levied because of management's programming decisions." - - AFTRA National Communications Director Jayne Wallace, on fining individuals for indecency violations (3/1/04 RBR #41)

* "No one sitting in this room can tell me it is in the public interest for cable and satellite providers to use the public spectrum and right of ways to pipe indecent and obscene programming into America's living rooms at all hours of the day without any constraints or limitations. How to fix this moral decay? Empower the FCC; enact legislation; have an amendment to the Constitution if necessary. You are the lawmakers. You can do it." - - Bud Paxson, urging Congress to hold cable and satellite to the same decency standards as those used for broadcasters (3/1/04 RBR #41)

* "It was an interesting lunch with Hogan-a good lunch. It was in a wine cellar-I thought for a minute we were all walking in to sample 'The Cask of Amontillado.' John was going to get us all down there and brick us in!"-- Matt Feinberg, SVP/National Radio, Zenith Media Services on a lunch meeting with CC Radio CEO John Hogan (3/3 RBR #43)

* "First of all, as a gift, I wrapped in Clear Channel rate submissions the board game of 'Sorry,' because after his appearance on Capitol Hill where he apologized for everything short of the Vietnam War, I figure it would be a good game for him and his nine year old daughter. He's a good guy. I like events like this."-- Rich Russo, JL Media's SVP/Director of Broadcast Services on the same lunch meeting with Hogan. (3/3 RBR #43)

* "Today, we will be taking a major step in our fight to clean up the airwaves. The American public has said 'enough is enough' and they are demanding smut-free TV and radio. The public has spoken, and we heard them loud and clear." - - Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) on passage of the "Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004" House Energy and Commerce Committee by a vote of 49-1 (3/4/04 RBR #44)

* "Definition: It shall be considered indecent and patently offensive to contemporary community standards for the local media marketplace for a single person under Commission rules to own three television station licenses, eight radio station licenses, the only newspaper in town, the only cable system in town, and all the Internet assets of such entities, within one community. Fines and Penalties: In lieu of a monetary fine, Commissioners who misguidedly supported the massive deregulation of media ownership shall be required to (1) take remedial courses in the civic importance of media diversity and localism and the informational needs of citizens of a great democracy; and (2) shall be required to watch the movie 'Citizen Kane' over and over again until they flinch at the word 'rosebud.'" - - Amendment to the "Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004" submitted and then withdrawn by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) (3/4/04 RBR #44)

* "I love this company" - - Michael Eisner, as he opened the annual shareholders meeting of the Walt Disney Company in Philadelphia. But by the end of the day, over 43% of the company's shareholders had registered that they had no love for his management of Disney. (3/4 TVBR #44)

* "We fully accept our responsibility for airing inappropriate content, and our company will accept the consequences. Our company simply does not want to be associated with indecency. We know we can deliver great radio without compromising our integrity as broadcasters." - - Clear Channel Radio President/CEO John Hogan while paying a 755K fine for airing Bubba the Love Sponge (3/5/04 RBR #45)

* "This Board just doesn't get it. Once again, we see half measures, cosmetic changes and poor choices." - - Roy Disney and Stan Gold after Disney's Board of Directors replaced Michael Eisner as Chairman, but kept him as CEO despite an unprecedented 43% no confidence vote by shareholders. (3/8 TVBR #46)

* "I could sell millions of satellite radios...After I'm thrown off the air...I'll rise from the ashes like a phoenix and I will not stop until every car is equipped [with a satellite radio]....[I'll] take down the very industry I created." - - Howard Stern on hearing the FCC is about to drop a bunch of big fines on him. (3/8 RBR #46)

* "If you ever wanted a lesson in why politics is a bunch of baloney, you'd listen to politicians talk about how radio is a consolidated business. Radio is not a consolidated business compared to just about any other business you'd like to look at - - the airline business, the banking business - - there are a lot of businesses that are considerably more consolidated than radio. It just happens to have gotten a lot of attention, politically. Some of that is because the number one operator needs to be a little better steward - - or, as I like to say, they want to be the Jolly Green Giant, instead of the ogre, and I think they've had to learn to deal with that a little bit - - and they're working hard to do that." - - Cox Radio CEO Bob Neil, to a Bear Stearns conference in Palm Beach, FL. (3/9 RBR #47)

* "Clearly, the great preponderance of Talk radio in America today is right-wing oriented. And we feel that there are listeners out there begging, begging for entertainment, for comedy, for information that varies and is more robust than that which is available today...and our ability to go live 3/31 of this year, in plenty of time to be a rational place for those looking for information about this upcoming election, and many elections to in the future." - - Air America CEO Mark Walsh, who also claimed that the upstart liberal radio network had raised "tens of millions of dollars" to fund the venture. The actual number turned out to be eight million and Air America nearly collapsed in a cash crunch early on, getting back on track only after new investors were found and Walsh left the company. (3/11 RBR #49).

* "I think Michael Eisner did some great things for the company, but there are some not so great things." - - Diane Disney Miller, Walt Disney's daughter, as she lent her support to the effort to oust the Disney CEO. (3/11 TVBR #49)

* "So, if nothing comes of it, so be it. But this is the first time-I've been doing this for 30 years, listening to everyone whine at each other-I've actually seen people all coming to the same conclusion: that we had better do something if we all want our children to have jobs in the future."-- Jon Mandel, Chairman/MediaCom US and Chief Global Buying Officer MediaCom Worldwide on panel sessions at the ANA Television Advertising Forum held 3/10 in NYC (3/11 TVBR #49)

* The television industry, like every other industry, works best when it regulates and polices itself. Yet the industry - - either out of arrogance or ignorance or both - - has chosen to ignore the public's pleas. It's a shame we have to address this issue, but when members of the broadcast industry violate the boundaries of reasonable tolerance, that's exactly what we're forced to do. The House has sent a clear signal to our broadcasters: enough is enough." - - Tom Delay (R-TX) on passage of the "Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004" by the full House (3/15/04 RBR #51)

* "It is clear that the American people are concerned about obscenity. I share this concern. I do not believe that the solution rests in restricting the First Amendment. H.R. 3717 was crafted in reaction to perceived increased levels of obscenity on television and radio, but the bill is a knee-jerk reaction to a serious issue. Instead of legislation that results in censorship, we should vote by consumer choice. We should choose media that are respectful of the family hour, and boycott media that are not...A free media is one of the greatest characteristics of a free society." Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) on passage of the "Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004" by the full House (3/15/04 RBR #51)

* "...these multiple course 'corrections' by the FCC in the context of adjudicatory proceedings typically involving a single party and taking months, or even years, of deliberation underscore the difficult task facing broadcasters as an industry to make subjective determinations within a matter of several seconds as to whether specific program material is legally indecent." - - Viacom honcho Mel Karmazin in letter to Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) on the FCC's difficulties defining indecency (3/18/04 RBR #54)

* "Very sweet of you. We're going to lose our liquor license." - - David Letterman after singer Courtney Love bared her breasts to him during the taping of his CBS show. (3/19 TVBR #55)

* "Today, we overturn the Enforcement Bureau's October 2003 decision and find that the use of the 'f-word' during last year's broadcast of the Golden Globes violates the federal statute. This sends a signal to the industry that the gratuitous use of such vulgar language on broadcast television will not be tolerated." - - FCC Chairman Michael Powell discussing the NBC Bono incident (3/22/04 RBR #56)

* "How ironic that the majority relies on the Commission's own failure to enforce its statutory mandate as the basis for NBC not knowing that the f-word was profane." - - FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin arguing that NBC should've been fined for the Bono incident (3/22/04 RBR #56)

* "Our new survey argues quite convincingly thwat while some of the material on the radio may be shocking, it's what the audience wants. These Rock radio listeners are telling us in overwhelming numbers that they want to decide for themselves whether to listen to a radio program or not, and they believe that the marketplace, not the FCC or 'watchdog groups' should make the decision on what's available on the radio." Fred Jacobs of Jacobs Media (3/25/04 RBR #59)

* "I certainly would never make a gesture like that toward Paula or on national television. Sometimes I lean on my index finger. Sometimes a different finger. Sometimes two at the same time, or, God help me, even the whole hand. I never even thought about it until now." - - Simon Cowell, after blogger Matt Drudge posted stills of the hit Fox show and suggested that by resting his head on the middle finger of his right hand, Cowell might have been making a rude gesture aimed at fellow "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul. (3/26 TVBR #60)

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