First, blame Janet Jackson: The Tennessean today is reporting the company broadcasting Titans games is now delaying the the coverage by 12 seconds to avoid being fined by the FCC.
Quote from Citadel Broadcasting Market Manager Dave Kelly:
“If someone in the stands screams something out and it gets picked up on a crowd mike and it goes out over the network, there is a zero-tolerance policy with the FCC for about a $325,000 fine per incident. In order to be able to do what we do with these live broadcasts there are things that are outside of our control that could literally cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because of the FCC, there’s not an option on this.”
While I strongly doubt the credibility of Mr. Kelly’s specific hypothetical scenario to justify the 12-second delay, the fact that he uses it is a display of the chilling effects a regulatory policy can have on things totally unrelated to the “problem” the policy was intended to “solve.”
Moral of story: Jeff Jarvis is right. Paternalistic policies intended to muzzle Howard Stern end up muzzling everyone.