Shock jocks Opie and Anthony are wildly obscene. But they're on XM, a paid
subscription network doing the job for which their listenters pay:
shocking and titillating the masses. So why the censorship? Why the suspension? Could it be the
price of the Sirius merger? All eyes are watching and judging, so the shock
jocks took it on the chin.
Satellite radio bills itself as the Wild West of the airwaves, an uncensored outpost beyond the reach of federal regulators where expletives fly with impunity and the banter can get as raunchy as at a strip club.
But the decision this week by XM Satellite Radio to suspend shock jocks Opie and Anthony for 30 days for crude sexual comments about First Lady Laura Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Queen Elizabeth II has listeners wondering whether there's a new sheriff in town.
Some XM listeners were outraged Ã¢â‚¬” not at the comments but at XM's reaction.
On May 9, the XM portion of the show aired a skit featuring a character called Homeless Charlie, who graphically described having sex with Bush, Rice and the queen. Hughes and Cumia played along, laughing and asking questions.
XM issued a statement condemning the comments, and Cumia and Hughes apologized on the air Friday.
On Monday's show, Hughes and Cumia complained about "dumb rules" and an "umbrella of morality and decency" that led Imus and some other hosts to get fired. XM officials suspended the pair Tuesday, saying the comments "put into question whether they appreciate the seriousness of the matter."
Satellite radio followers said the suspension was unprecedented. Some XM listeners were stunned and angry when they heard about it. ... ..
Listeners shocked by XM hosts' suspension
Many cancel the service. Some suspect a proposed merger with Sirius is a factor in the punishment.
Big business strikes again? Or did these guys just go too far? Who decides? It's obviously not the listeners on this one. But you've got to wonder why Opie and Anthony get suspended, and no one dares to touch Rush for his outright racism.
Will Howard Stern be next?