The FCC looks at three primary factors when analyzing broadcast material: (1) whether the description or depiction is explicit or graphic; (2) whether the material dwells on or repeats at length descriptions or depictions of sexual or excretory organs; and (3) whether the material appears to pander or is used to titillate or shock. The FCC weighs and balances these factors because each case presents its own mix of these, and possibly other, factors. Profane language includes those words that are so highly offensive that their mere utterance in the context presented may, in legal terms, amount to a nuisance. The safe harbor refers to the time period between 10 p.m. During this time period, a station may air indecent and/or profane material.In its Golden Globe Awards Order the FCC warned broadcasters that, depending on the context, it would consider the F-Word and those words (or variants thereof) that are as highly offensive as the F-Word to be profane language that cannot be broadcast between 6 a.m. In contrast, there is no safe harbor for the broadcast of obscene material. Offensive words may be profane and/or indecent depending on the context.How many complaints has the FCC received about obscene, indecent, or profane programming?The Complaint And Enforcement Statistics link to the left provides not only the previous month's count of the complaints received for the current year, but also lists the total number of complaints received by the FCC since 2000.Do I need to provide a tape or transcript of the program? However, the FCC's determination as to whether material is indecent, profane, or potentially obscene rests upon its context.Your submission of a tape or transcript assists us in determining context, but an excerpt or description of the material may also be sufficient.The FCC has determined, with the approval of the courts, that there is a reasonable risk that children will be in the audience from 6 a.m. Therefore, the FCC prohibits station licensees from broadcasting indecent material during that period.
Please see the link How to file a Complaint for more complete information, including information on FCC web and mailing addresses.Consistent with a subsequent statute and court case, the Commission's rules prohibit the broadcast of indecent material during the period of 6 a.m. FCC decisions also prohibit the broadcast of profane material between 6 a.m. Civil enforcement of these requirements rests with the FCC, and is an important part of the FCC's overall responsibilities. Supreme Court, to be obscene, material must meet a three-prong test: (1) an average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest (i.e., material having a tendency to excite lustful thoughts); (2) the material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and (3) the material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.At the same time, the FCC must be mindful of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section 326 of the Communications Act, which prohibit the FCC from censoring program material, or interfering with broadcasters' free speech rights. Obscene speech is not protected by the First Amendment and broadcasters are prohibited, by statute and regulation, from airing obscene programming at any time. The Supreme Court has indicated that this test is designed to cover hard-core pornography. Indecent material contains sexual or excretory material that does not rise to the level of obscenity.For this reason, the courts have held that indecent material is protected by the First Amendment and cannot be banned entirely.It may, however, be restricted to avoid its broadcast during times of the day when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience.On July 28, 2004, however, the FCC opened an inquiry into violent programming and its effect on children.