Published on November 8th, 2017 | by Alan Cross6
The F-Bomb Can Be Used on Canadian Radio. But There’s a Catch.
Unlike the United States with its FCC, there is no government body in Canada that oversees day-to-day content on the radio. Yes, there’s the CRTC, but it deals with dry regulatory issues like broadcast licenses and Cancon not what can or cannot be said by radio hosts or the songs that are played.
For those matters, private radio regulates itself through the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. If a listener has a problem with something that’s heard on private Canadian radio, a complaint can be made to the CBSC, which then launches an investigation.
When I was working as a program director, I dealt with CBSC complaints all the time. My record in dealing with such matters was 112-1. The only case I lost with the CBSC (which means the station had to air an apology twice over the course of two weeks–how Canadian) was when actor David Carradine showed up drunk on the morning show and dropped the F-bomb in the first 20 seconds. There was a lister complaint which I totally bobbled in its handling and resolution and the station was censured.
There are few things more toxic than dropping an F-sharp on the radio. It’s bad enough if it’s heard in a song (which explains the careful and vulgar radio edit of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name”) but if a host or a guest utters it–well, that’s close to language police Armageddon.
Except, it appears, in Quebec.
According to a ruling by the CBSC, the f-word can be used more often and more liberally in French on French-language radio than in English and on English-language radio. In other words, French Canadian radio hosts can get away with using the f-word 100% more of the time.
CKOI-FM in Montreal received a couple of complaints about programming done in the key of f-sharp. After an investigation, the CBSC has let them off the hook.
The thinking goes like this: “This crude English word is now – unfortunately – part of the common French language” and therefore permissible on French-language radio in Canada. There are only a couple of caveats: Fucks can only fly sporadically, only in French language programming and not be directed at a particular person.
For the Rest of Canada, the same old rules apply. F**k.
(Via the Globe and Mail)