Thursday, February 05, 2004

Tape Delay for the Grammy's

Just one week after the controversial, Super Bowl halftime show, CBS will air the 46th annual Grammy Awards. Janet Jackson is still slated to present an award and Justin Timberlake is still scheduled to perform. However, CBS is taking some precautions to avoid another embarassment this week. Fearing that some rock and roller or hip hop star will try to top the Super Bowl shenanigans, CBS has instituted an enhanced tape delay for the broadcast. It is not uncommon for networks to delay certain live broadcasts by 5 seconds so that they will be able to edit out foul language. However, this enhanced delay for the Grammy's will also allow CBS to edit out visuals that run afoul of the FCC. The exact length of the enhanced delay has yet to be determined, but I have heard that it could be as long as five minutes (in an aside: Conan O'Brien quipped that five minutes would allow CBS to edit out all objectionable content -- including any Clay Aiken song).

This enhanced delay may well be an effective tool for shielding American homes from obscenity, nudity and the like. However, I am disappointed that this is even necessary. I am not disappointed that people in the entertainment industry would consider such publicity stunts. Instead, I am disappointed that our culture is such that artists do not pay a financial price for attacks on public decency. Perhaps I live in the wrong decade, but I wish that market forces would come alive to punish those who offend American families rather than having those families just wait to have their eyes shielded by the media or the FCC.