The International Writers Magazine

James Campion

Why Satellite Radio Will Crush The FCC

Don't be told what you want
Don't be told what you need
There's no future no future
No future for you.

- Sex Pistols

"Never lose sight of the fact that all human felicity lies in man's imagination, and that he cannot think to attain it unless he heeds all his caprices. The most fortunate of persons is he who has the most means to satisfy his vagaries."
-Marquis de Sade

My feel-good wish for the New Year is to witness the mortal wounding of the FCC. I don't expect it to flat-line, but it needs to bleed, terminally, perhaps a day or two in intensive care on the critical list. "Doesn't look good, doctor, contact the next of kin." No cure. Have a nice day. It was good to know ya.
Dare I?

It has been my fuzzy little dream for decades, but now it can actually come to wondrous fruition with the emergence of satellite radio. With Howard Stern's debut on Sirius Radio this past week, along with most of the subject-specific programming available to subscribers for $12 a month, there appears to be a real sense that things will loosen up on the old traditional airwaves; finally freeing up Marconi's instrument of destruction for more penetrating and corruptible behavior.

There have been some who've opposed smut radio, shock jocks, and certain levels of discerning demographics of music programming, as well as the odd slice of controversial and biting subject matter for the darker souls among us. And they now claim victory. They say kicking the likes of a Howard Stern off the air and onto pay radio at least takes him away from being available to everyone. And I would applaud their perspective. Whatever shuts these cretins up is fine by me. Because the only thing that matters in radio is ratings, which translates into advertising muscle and then the all-important product-placement dollars.
The idea that commercial radio was invented to serve the populace and/or the greater good is as infantile and naive as assuming big-time college sports creates school spirit; while maturing young citizens may learn fair play and teamwork or that television and the Internet would become super tools of education, enlightenment, while promoting evolved thought. Nothing exists without it garnishing a buck in this country, nothing worth a shit to the masses anyway. Nothing anyone would pay attention to or that you might receive without sending out search parties. Radio, television, newspapers, et al, exist only to sell products, period. Not to promote agenda or serve the citizenry, but to sell cars, beer, loads of corporate junk and other things bottom line. Advertising is where the money is in these mediums. Very few make a serious buck in broadcasting. Advertising. Marketing. All that crap. That's where the money is.

So, think about it: If people are willing to pony up cash to listen to the radio, like they currently do to watch cable television or, say, rent films or use high-speed Internet, there will be someone around to exploit it for dollars. And that's how change comes along in this country: Cash. Cold, hard, and handy cash. The rest is white noise and head patting.

Why are listeners abandoning free radio to pay for it? The money people will want to know this. The product hawks and Madison Avenue geeks have to know. And they will know all too soon, believe me. Then they will do something about it.

You know why the number one television show in the country is "Desperate Housewives"? Because "Sex in the City" kicked ass on HBO, that's why. You think for one minute a racy show like "Desperate Housewives" gets anywhere near network television without some joker in a power tie saying, "Jesus Jumping Christ in a Blanket, Jack, have you seen the numbers that middle-aged woman sex romp is doing on HBO? Let's get us one of those!"
"But, Bill, we'll never get that garbage past standards and practices, we'll get hate mail and threats by the Catholic League of Freakazoids!"
"Let's see what Pepsi and Nike and Home Depot has to say about that, Jack. How about Ford and Honda and Budweiser and Coors?"
"Holy Shit, Bill! It's a goddamn go!"

All these "CSI" shows? Cable. "Six Feet Under", "The Sopranos", even that hilariously consistent Larry David thing; all of them have been co-opted by network TV, and not one of them would have made it past secretaries five years ago. No way. All these Reality Shows everywhere? MTV's "The Real Life".
Network TV is now not merely a landscape littered with dirt and grime, exploitation and sex, sex, sex, with just the right amount of violence thrown in; it's pretty much home base. And that's great, if that's what people want. And it's quite obvious they want it big time.

Otherwise it would go away. It doesn't need to be regulated. People don't watch it, it goes away. Simple as that. No muss. No fuss. All these righteous fuckers who voted for George W. Bush to push the God agenda last year are the same ones tuning into this crap weekly, in big numbers, far bigger numbers than go to any voting booth. These people yell and scream about Hollywood and rap music and violence and sex and then turn around and lap this stuff up in record numbers. And again, that's good. A free society should measure what the populace wants.

Television has always been a good source for that. Television, fast food, speed banking, cosmetics, diet pills, booze and technological doo-dads; it's the melting pot, really.

It's like these ubiquitous ultra-violent video games; you think these things would survive without tons of people buying them? No is the answer to that one. And, once again, that's a good thing. If that's what people want, and it's not hurting anyone, then fine.

Here's where satellite radio grants my wish: Once advertisers realize the windfall of subscribers ponying up cash to listen to Lesbian donkey humping, then the reigns will be loosened on the ol' squawk box and perhaps then can we have a completely free society unhampered by non-elected shit heels manipulated by loony soccer moms and mid-western preachers. The free air will then finally be free.
And pretty soon we'll be hearing all sorts of fucks and shits everywhere.
And if people want it, then fine.
Everyone has to have a dream. This is mine: The death of the FCC.
Thanks for helping folks.
Happy New Year!

© James Campion Jan 16th 2006

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