Sign in to comment!

Hannity

Slipping on the Slope of Broadcast Decency

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", May 21, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Radio shock jock Howard Stern has felt the heat and Rush Limbaugh has found himself the target of a controversial prosecution. What is it about talk radio that gets people so riled up, and is talk radio in danger of fizzling from the airwaves?

Joining us here in New York, radio talk show host Alan Stock, Heidi Harris, co-hosts of the Alan Stock and Heidi Harris show on KXNT in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Why does his name come first? I get asked that question all the time.

HEID I HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: That's a good question. You can ask him that question. I don't know. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

COLMES: He was hired first. That's how it happens on this show.

Let me ask you about this issue. I mean, it all started with Janet Jackson's breast, I guess. The FCC getting more involved in content.

And I think Sean and I might actually agree on this. Once they start down that slippery slope, and they go after Howard Stern because they don't like what he is doing, claiming it's pornographic or obscene or whatever, that slippery slope is hard -- it's hard to stop that from rolling downhill.

Alan, you agree with me on that?

ALAN STOCK, RADIO TALK HOST: I agree with you totally on that, and that's a big concern of mine. They should not be going after anyone at all.

You know, if you don't like what's on television, you don't like what's on radio, you have the people and the power and the ability to turn it off. You don't need federal laws...

COLMES: I have a conservative position on this, because I don't want government involvement. So I am the true conservative.

HARRIS: I think that's great. You're coming over to our side.

COLMES: I don't want the FCC -- so I'm between two conservatives on morning?

HARRIS: Well, not really. We disagree on some issues.

COLMES: Well, you know, so do Sean and I. Just a couple of major issues.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: We disagree on everything.

HARRIS: Except on major issues.

COLMES: A couple of things.

But, you know, the idea that I think most people in our business, in the broadcasting business see it from this perspective. That we don't want the government involved in content.

But many Americans feel the government, there should be a line drawn in the sand. This is a parenting issue, though.

HARRIS: I think that's true. It's a parenting issue, and certainly, a lot of conservatives have been concerned, those who see some of the garbage on TV as not beneficial to society. Some of the garbage on the radio is not beneficial to society. Still should look at the bigger picture.

We've never had an absolute right to free speech. I can't threaten the president, I go to jail.

COLMES: So there's a line in the sand.

HARRIS: There's always been a line.

COLMES: What we're really debating is who draws that line? How do we define that line? And where's -- The line's already there, Alan.

STOCK: Parents. Parents again. It's the responsibility of the parents to decide what their kids listen to or watch.

COLMES: And we want the government to be our parents?

STOCK: We don't want the government to be our parents. Someone said to me the other day that free speech has always been around, the postage and handling has gone up.

And you know, I think our sense of being on top of what's going on, we should be aware of it. Parents should be more judicious. We allow more things to happen now.

HANNITY: Wait a minute. Where are the lines? Do you draw any lines? You should be able to use the "F" word on TV, on radio?

STOCK: Well, the "F" word is being used on cable.

HANNITY: What about radio? Your radio stations, our radio stations, it's ours.

STOCK: It is ours. And you know what? Ours, we don't do it. But there are some stations that in the past have used the "F" word.

HANNITY: Should we be allowed to?

STOCK: Yes, absolutely. Even though we wouldn't use it on there, yes, we should be allowed to.

HARRIS: I don't think so.

HANNITY: I don't think so, either.

HARRIS: I don't think so. I don't think so. But I'm concerned about it also, the government regulation, because you've heard about this legislation in Canada, this hate speech. That could be applied to radio. Now, if we're conservatives we could be punished.

HANNITY: My -- I think, first of all, we should have very straightforward rules and what they are.

But I've got to tell you, I think basically anything goes, with a few exception, a few words, and that's it. I really believe the ultimate target will be liberals against conservatives on the radio, and the desire to silence conservatives.

HARRIS: You're exactly right. And that's why the hate speech legislation is so scary. It's in Canada. That could be applied to us, the hate speech that's going through in Canada, the hate speech laws.

They're going to forbid people who are even church members from teaching from the pulpit that homosexuality, as an example, is wrong. Even in churches. That could be applied to this nation and it could be applied to radio as you mentioned.

HANNITY: I think we're heading into a time in America where churches that don't marry gays and lesbians will have their tax-exempt status threatened.

HARRIS: Exactly right.

HANNITY: I think that day is coming. That debate will be right here first.

What about, for example, the attacks against Howard Stern? Is that good? Is that right? Is that just? Is that over the top?

STOCK: No, it's not. I don't listen to Howard Stern, but you know what? People have a right to hear what he has to say. He has a right to broadcast. He's got a big audience.

Again, if you don't like it, do what I do. I turn it off.

HARRIS: It's not the topics I like to listen to. We're on the same time he is on, but change the dial if you don't like it.

HANNITY: That's right. And Howard does have a big audience and people do make decisions. And I don't believe this argument that kids are listening. Kids aren't getting up at 6 a.m. in the morning to turn on the radio to hear Howard ask a woman to take her clothes off.

HARRIS: Right.

COLMES: And that's a parenting issue. Parents can make that decision. We all agree. This is beautiful.

STOCK: Amazing.

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2004 Fox News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2004 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, L.L.C. and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.