FCC Quietly Dismissing Indecency Complaints

Mar 1, 2011  •  Post A Comment

The Federal Communications Commission has been dismissing indecency complaints against television stations and programs, according to one of its commissioners, B&C reported.

Commissioner Robert McDowell says the complaints stand in the way of pending license renewals, and the dismissals should pave the way for those renewals to go through.

McDowell indicated the dismissals have been going on without much fanfare, through the agency’s Enforcement Bureau, and they involve complaints that fall outside of the FCC’s scope of authority.

“That includes complaints against programming that had aired between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., when the FCC’s indecency rules do not apply, and ones dealing with violent content, over which the FCC has no authority,” the story reports. “FCC sources in the past have also pointed to the dropping of some complaints due to the expiration of the statute of limitations.”

It has been reported recently that more than 1 million complaints were being processed. In comments Monday to the National Association of Broadcasters State Leadership Conference in Washington, McDowell said about 15,000 broadcasts received complaints last year, and the agency has narrowed them down to about 8,700.


  1. That explains all the garbage on my tv. Ignoring complaints. I expect nothing less from the FCC. 20 years ago most of what is on tv today would not exist. Hence the reason my tv is rarely on.

  2. This is a great thing! Far too many of those complaints are false; complaints forced upon the FCC by by bold faced liars like Focus On The Family and Parents Television Council.
    The FCC should be forced to have to prove that each complaint was filed by someone who actually watched the “offending” program when it originally aired. Far too many of these complainers have either seen clips or have not ever seen the show they are complaining about.

  3. AMEN frenchjr25!!! You hit the nail on the proverbial head.I don’t need anyone telling me what I can and cannot watch after the kiddies go to bed, (or should have already been in bed…) These same people doing all of the complaining are the very same folks who claim to want “smaller government” out of their lives.
    Rank hypocrisy!

  4. Iceman….I disagree totally. The programs I watch today are head and tails above what was on the major networks 20 years ago…of course much of that programming is actually on cable networks who can operate without the ridiculous limitations the broadcast nets are subject to. I’m glad the FCC is growing up and backing off from making broadcast palatable to those under the age of 5…and members of the Parents Television and Focus on the Family.

  5. I am one of those “smaller government” types, and I completely agree with you, Ben. The FCC should have no jurisdiction over content whatsoever. Their only purpose should be to administer the allocation of RF spectrum.

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