The CRTC Approves Satellite Radio...Sort Of

Howard SternI love the idea of satellite radio. Dozens and dozens of stations for every taste, sounding great and without the inane commercials. Furthermore, Howard Stern is heading that way at the end of the year and I've been a big fan for a decade now.

Today, the CRTC made their landmark decision and approved satellite radio. This is good news, but read the decision and you'll find the following paragraph under "Adherence to the Regulations and Industry Codes".

The Commission notes that both CSR and Sirius Canada committed to be accountable for the content of the programming contained on all Canadian and non-Canadian channels distributed by their undertakings. In this regard, the applicants have undertaken not to broadcast anything in contravention of the law, any abusive comment, or any obscene or profane language. CSR and Sirius Canada have also committed to adhere to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Sex-Role Portrayal Code for Television and Radio Programming, and CSR has further committed to abide by the CAB's Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children. Accordingly, the Commission has imposed conditions of licence requiring adherence to the relevant sections of the Radio Regulations, and to the aforementioned codes. The Commission notes that both applicants committed to take whatever action is necessary to ensure adherence to the regulations and codes including, if necessary, the removal of a channel from their program offerings.

It appears as if the content on satellite radio will be regulated the same as it is currently on terrestrial radio. In the United States, Howard Stern's jump was to avoid the FCC as satellite radio there is essentially a safe haven for explicit content and language. Up here, it doesn't sound like that's the case which means the new Sirius radio Howard Stern show can't air here uncensored. Canadian subscribers to the Sirius/CBC offering won't hear the Howard Stern show that airs in the United States, if we hear it at all.

Satellite radio will be a paid service. Adults will subscribe to the service and buy special hardware to receive the signal. Considering these facts, a subscriber would be well aware as to what kind of content they will be exposed to, which may or may not include a little "obscene or profane language". We're big boys and girls, I'm pretty sure we can censor the content ourselves. The CRTC has over extended their bounds, grossly encroaching upon our freedom to subscribe to satellite radio and hear an F-bomb or two.


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