Music News

Obscene and Heard

Page 4 of 4

Right now, then, it's largely up to each station, and in some cases each DJ, to decide what can be said and what should remain unspoken. Since that's hardly a recipe for consensus, it comes as no surprise that Kerns, White and Marvin have disparate opinions on the issue. Of the three, Kerns is the most willing to say that more profanity does not necessarily make for better radio. "I think I way overreacted to the freedom that I didn't realize existed when I came here," he says. "I still say cusswords on the air sometimes, but I've since learned that it's not that exciting to do it all the time. I'm a grown man. I don't have to do that."

White goes further: "I think the FCC should worry more if telephone towers are giving kids who live under them cancer than whether I'm saying 'masturbation' on the air."

And Marvin? "I don't think there should be any rules or regulations about this at all," he says. "I'm not offended when I hear people say 'asshole' or 'ass' or 'fuck' or any of those things. The bottom line ought to be the dial, the button, the knob. Turn it off if you don't like it.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts