NEW YORK Viacom on Tuesday agreed to pay federal regulators $3.5 million to settle a series of indecency complaints and wipe its slate clean except for the Super Bowl broadcast that included the fleeting exposure of Janet Jackson's breast.
Broadcasts covered by the consent decree include the sex-in-St. Patrick's Cathedral stunt staged in 2002 by radio hosts Opie and Anthony, who were fired from Infinity Broadcasting, and a broadcast by Howard Stern, who has said he is leaving Viacom for the less restrictive platform of satellite radio, which is not bound by indecency restrictions.
Viacom struck the agreement with the Federal Communications Commission, which said the company agreed to institute a policy to prevent the broadcast of indecent matter. The FCC agreed to drop investigations into broadcasts on Viacom subsidiary UPN and some CBS affiliates not owned by Viacom, the agency said without providing details of those probes.
The agreement means the settled complaints won't be held against Viacom when its properties come up before the FCC for license renewals.
"We have now resolved all outstanding matters before the FCC related to indecency except for the Super Bowl," Viacom said in a statement. "While we deeply regret the incident involving Janet Jackson, we believe that government fine for an unintentional broadcast is unfair and unwarranted and we are challenging that decision."
Separately the FCC also denied indecency complaints against three TV programs: Keen Eddie on Fox, Coupling on Telemundo and Off Centre on the WB.