Wednesday, March 09, 2005

 

Sharon Tay v. Cher Calvin

Anywhere you walk in Downtown Los Angeles, you'll see JCdecaux transit ads that are plastered with KTLA's new ad campaign, promoting the fact that they have beautiful women on-screen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One of their former anchors, Sharon Tay, posted glamour pics on her website that made the network execs at Tribune (owner of KTLA/WB) run for the hills, due to their racy content and Tay's overtly sexual poses. To add more fuel to the fire, the new host that took Sharon's position, Cher Calvin, had pictures that were so suggestive on her website that it draws a blank page when you load it.

Frankly, I don't really care about the pictures on the website. None of them involved nudity, and some of the covers of those magazines that line the checkout counters at the supermarket show more skin. But, I know where Tribune is coming from when they're throwing fits in the boardroom because of these personal websites with photo galleries that get more webhits on a daily basis than I get in one month. First of all, both Sharon Tay and Cher Calvin are really pretty women, there's no doubt about that. But, as news anchors, they have a responsibility to the network airwaves to remain modest to keep the shareholders happy, or to at least watch their actions to prevent another FCC/Janet Jackson debacle from happening. While the shareholder debate is an easy one to understand --- as keeping money coming into the company is the numbe one priority --- the last thing they need is to break one of the FCC's rules:
The FCC has defined broadcast indecency as "language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community broadcast standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities." Indecent programming contains
patently offensive sexual or excretory references that do not rise to the level of obscenity. Indecent programming may, however, be restricted in order to avoid its broadcast during times of the day when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience.

Consistent with a federal statute and federal court decisions interpreting the indecency statute, the Commission adopted a rule pursuant to which broadcasts -- both on television and radio -- that fit within the indecency definition and that are aired between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. are subject to indecency enforcement action.

LA Observed brings up some very important points about the anchorwomen, and how talent still cannot be trumped by good looks.

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