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April 8, 2019 7:43 am  #1


Swearing On Air: Where Do You Draw The Line?

What language is acceptable on commercial radio these days? This came up on several fronts this week, after I heard Stafford on 640’s morning show Monday joking about “emptying out the ‘shitter.’" He then added, “I get one of those a year.” Of course, he’s famous for constantly employing the word “shyte” on the air, getting around the taboo.
 
I recently heard a few guests on CFRB’s Roundtable use the word “bullshit” during the morning drive in relation to something political. It wasn’t dumped.
 
And then I read this bizarre article from the U.K. where a host had American podcaster/comedian Marc Meron on his show, with the guest using the word, “pissed off” during their live interview. The host then immediately issued an apology, saying that word isn’t allowed on British airwaves.
 
Yet I hear “pissed” or “pissed off” all the time on talk radio here and no one bats an eye – or an ear.
 
There’s no question language has become a lot less strict on the airwaves these days – just listen to some rap lyrics.
 
But I find it amazing that Meron’s purported sin is verboten on British radio but here it’s more or less part of speech – especially considering I always thought U.K. standards were a lot looser than ours. (There has been swearing and nudity on England’s over-the-air TV screens since at least the 70s.)
 
So what, I wonder, constitutes going too far? What words can you say on radio here that were once unacceptable and which can never be uttered (beyond, of course, the dreaded F-word?) I wonder how these things actually change.
 
Does anyone on radio give a shit – er, a shyte, er - a darn anymore?

 

April 8, 2019 10:12 am  #2


Re: Swearing On Air: Where Do You Draw The Line?

Last week on one of 1010's morning 'Roundtable' segments, one of the panelists was railing against the Carbon Tax or something, and angrily said 'God Damned' several times.  No big deal to me, but not the kind of thing you hear that often, even these days.

 

April 8, 2019 10:53 am  #3


Re: Swearing On Air: Where Do You Draw The Line?

Terrestrial radio is facing the same issue with language that network television faced twenty-five years ago.  Cable only channels such as HBO and Showtime were allowed to show programming with coarse language.  It forced networks to modify the language standards to make their prime time presentations more contemporary.  Gone are the days when the use of the word crap was such a big deal on an episode of M*A*S*H.

Today, most podcasts allow at least the occasional curse word and digital media is definitely a significant competitor.  Having said that, I doubt you will be hearing any F-bombs on NewsTalk 1010 any time soon.  But I think the use of language will be less restricted than it was in the past.   Instead of the seven words you can not say on network television, it might become the four words you are not allowed to say on terrestrial radio.

 

April 8, 2019 11:07 am  #4


Re: Swearing On Air: Where Do You Draw The Line?

The ability to get ones point across without swearing is a lost art form.  The word Fuck is now tossed about by everyone everyday.  A perfectly good swear word ruined.  There was a time when you said FUCK people knew you were pissed! (Apologies to the British)  

 

April 8, 2019 4:55 pm  #5


Re: Swearing On Air: Where Do You Draw The Line?

How about this morning on Jerry Agar with his panel.

One of the participants (owner of an auto detailing business), whilst they were discussing Sheer vs Trudeau possible lawsuit, made reference to a lawsuit he was involved in and had to disclose injuries to his "ball sack"

 

April 8, 2019 7:32 pm  #6


Re: Swearing On Air: Where Do You Draw The Line?

Several months ago, a guest who wrote a book about swearing appeared on the CBC radio show, The Current.  The guest host, Michelle Shephard used The F bomb several times in the course of the interview.  Since then, she has returned to host the show on at least two or three occasions, so management obviously had no issue with her salty language. 

 

April 8, 2019 10:25 pm  #7


Re: Swearing On Air: Where Do You Draw The Line?

Charlie wrote:

Last week on one of 1010's morning 'Roundtable' segments, one of the panelists was railing against the Carbon Tax or something, and angrily said 'God Damned' several times.  No big deal to me, but not the kind of thing you hear that often, even these days.

 
That was Program Director Bendixon. I heard it as well - and on nearly every appearance that phrase comes out of his mouth. It gives the impression he is insecure in his job and hence throws around coarse talk to emboss hierarchy in the studio.

 

April 14, 2019 2:52 am  #8


Re: Swearing On Air: Where Do You Draw The Line?

January 5th, 1992.  I still remember the date (thanks to imdb) when I heard the first F-bomb on CBC TV.
Great movie btw and used in great context.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0134951/?ref_=nv_sr_4?ref_=nv_sr_4

Davester

Last edited by Davester (April 14, 2019 2:53 am)

 

April 14, 2019 7:35 am  #9


Re: Swearing On Air: Where Do You Draw The Line?

First F bomb I heard was on Brave New Waves - when Augusta La Paix hosted. A guest (who owned a salon in NYC called Jungle Red with a waterbed in the waiting area) blurted it out, paused her speech, then Augusta deftly said "that's ok I didn't say it". It immediately took the steam out and allowed the conversation to continue. Curiously I heard Laurie Brown use the same line years later when it happened to her. Nowadays I doubt a host could escape some form of sanction.

(Since we're talking cuss words, I have a cassette recording of Bob Mackowycz saying "bullshit" on air in 1978. In the context of the topic - Springsteen's life/management/recording contract - it was appropriate.)

 

April 15, 2019 7:48 am  #10


Re: Swearing On Air: Where Do You Draw The Line?

You might enjoy this clip of Martin Streek swearing on 102.1.