Scary Radio: The Poisoning Of Our Airways

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Scary Radio: The Poisoning of our Airways On a busy morning, a man rushes off to work. The radio is tuned to a local talk-show program when he gets in the car. He hears racial slurs, derogatory references toward homosexuals and phrases that put down women on the radio program. The words nigger, fag and ho are mentioned during the program. He has the choice to turn the station yet the indecent material has already triggered a painful memory from childhood. This man has a memory of being called names and singled out for being different. He experiences this all in his short ride to work. Yet what can he do about these slanderous phrases on his radio and how can he feel safe to turn it on again? The FCC does not regulate hate speech talk radio programs. Innocent people are being exposed to these phrases of hate and indecent content unregulated on our public radio airways. He is at the mercy of the producers, advertisers and “shock jocks” because we don’t have regulations on our airwaves to regulate hate speech. Racist, homophobic, and misogynistic speech should be regulated on the public radio airways because many people who hear it may become negatively influenced by it and it can be hurtful. Many people who hear this hate speech on the radio may become negatively influenced by it. It may encourage prejudice thinking and create fearful divisions. People aren’t always educated that this speech is indecent when they hear it. Some may not understand that this hate speech is used by some shock jocks to strongly enforce a point of view. New York City-based First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams thinks that if we regulate the airways, “we risk losing the enlivening and sometimes even acute commentary … of which even offensive speech is sometimes a part” (Clemmitt 9). However, the use of racist, homophobic and misogynistic speech on the radio airways has gone too far.

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