Feature

Talk Radio

Adjusting to the Imus rules.

Shock jocks beware, said Adam Nichols in the New York Daily News. The 'œDon Imus effect' is starting to change the culture of radio. When CBS fired its foul-mouthed talk-show host last month for calling the Rutgers women's basketball team 'œnappy-headed ho's,' many wondered if a new standard of decency was being set in a medium dominated for two decades by raunch, racism, and personal insults. It's now becoming clear that new rules are in effect. Last week, CBS radio canceled The Dog House With JV and Elvis after a prank caller to a Chinese restaurant ordered 'œslimp flied lice' and complimented a female employee's 'œhot Asian spicy a--.' At New York's WWPR Power 105.1 FM, Donnell 'œAshy' Rawlings was sacked for saying that 'œa cheap black guy' was the same as 'œa Jewish black guy.' Even satellite radio, which operates outside FCC supervision, is getting skittish. This week, XM suspended Opie and Anthony for broadcasting the rants of a character called 'œHomeless Charlie,' who said he wanted to rape Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush, and Queen Elizabeth II.

Don't let these isolated gestures fool you, said Jacques Steinberg in The New York Times. Talk radio is as 'œinsidiously untamed' as ever, as even a cursory survey of the airwaves shows. On WFNY, Nick Di Paolo recently mocked Jewish mothers as 'œbad cooks and a little hairy.' On the WKXW Jersey Guys show, host Craig Carton fantasized about Gov. Jon Corzine being serviced by 'œpoolside bitches' following his crippling auto accident. After mocking a listener as a 'œlate-term abortion that somehow crawled out of the dumpster,' Erich 'œMancow' Muller of WMEN in South Florida predicted that radical Muslims will kill Catholics and 'œbrainwash'' their children into wearing burqas. In other words, the airwaves are still filled with 'œcrude remarks, off-color bits, and unfiltered rage.''

Eric Alterman

The Nation

Bill Virgin

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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