WASHINGTON: One broadcast PR specialist is sounding alarms over the FCC's current crusade against indecency, warning that it could discourage TV and radio producers from scheduling live interviews with unfamiliar spokespeople.
New fines for indecency range from $275,000 to $500,000 for a single transgression, putting broadcast outlets on their guard.
Mark Hirsch, president of Boca Raton, FL-based MediaHitMan, says his agency is already seeing signs of trepidation among producers and is circulating an article addressing the issue.
"For the first time in 17 years, we're being reminded to ensure that our clients do not use expletives in interviews," said Hirsch. "Second, we're seeing more interest in doing taped interviews as opposed to live," which give producers greater leeway to edit out prime messages from the clients.
But Hirsch's concerns aren't shared by all in broadcast PR.
"I don't think this really is much of an issue," offered Roberta Facinelli, director of Medialink Radio. "When spokespeople go on, it doesn't behoove them to say anything that might be controversial."
Tammy Lemley, VP with North American Networks, says she, too, has encountered no fear among producers. If such fear did exist, though, she believes it would help reputable PR firms.
"If you have a rapport with the producer or host, it means your relationship becomes even more important because they're going to be more skeptical if [a guest] is coming from someone they don't know and trust."
Hirsch responded that it was not in the broadcast PR profession's interest to publicize a potential problem but he still feels "this is very serious."