Fearing FCC fines, Pacifica’s WBAI puts “Howl Against Censorship” online

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A measure of how far the cultural battle over broadcast indecency has shifted: New York’s WBAI, the Pacifica station that successfully challenged the FCC over George Carlin’s “seven dirty words,” created a special program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the court ruling that deemed Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” not obscene. But the program is being distributed online, not over the air. Bernard White, WBAI p.d., tells the San Francisco Chronicle that broadcasting “Howl Against Censorship” would put the station at risk for $325,000 FCC fines for each “dirty word” in Ginsberg’s poem. “This is about the public airwaves,” says Janet Coleman, WBAI arts director. “If we can’t control what goes on them, then how much freedom do we really have?” [Via Rolas de Aztlan.]