WASHINGTON, D.C.—Recently, YouTube, Facebook and Apple all decided to remove content from inflammatory broadcaster Alex Jones. Should that be a red flag to the 114 radio stations carrying Jones’ show that they, too, should disassociate themselves with the Info Wars founder?
Womble Bond Dickinson attorney John Garziglia addresses this question, and the larger question of inappropriate content, in a new op-ed for Radio Ink. The bottom line, Garziglia said, is that there is no “One size fits all” answer. Each situation must be evaluated on its own merits and each station manager and licensee must make his or her own decision.
The stakes for stations are high, and not just because an irresponsible broadcaster can drive away listeners and advertisers. “Radio stations may be exposed to a full panoply of legal actions, as well as a variety of other causes of action, for harmful content. Both social media and radio stations could find themselves in the cross-hairs of a lawsuit if questionable content incited violence or otherwise provoked illegality,” Garziglia writes. He adds that radio stations have a particularly high standard to meet because they are licensed by the FCC to serve the public interest.
“Finding that amorphous veracity line which should not be crossed is neither easy nor obvious,” he writes. “It is the responsibility of every radio station licensee and manager to determine what content should be refused.”
In light of the Apple, Facebook and YouTube decisions, Garziglia said Jones’ affiliates should examine his content carefully to determine whether or not it meets the station’s broadcast standards.
Click here to read “Rants & Radicals. The Dividing Line of Irresponsible Content” by John Garziglia in Radio Ink.
John Garziglia represents radio and television broadcasters, offering personalized assistance in all areas of communications and telecommunications law including transactional and contract negotiations for broadcast station mergers and acquisitions, the securing of financing, governmental auctions of new frequencies, license renewals, new stations applications, facility changes, facility upgrades, licensing, and compliance with FCC rules, regulations and policies.