• Applause for the Unsung Heroes of NBC’s Golden Globes Broadcast

    by  • January 9, 2016 • Broadcast Decency • 17 Comments


    Let’s have a round of applause for the NBC Broadcast Standards employees who had their hands on the mute button during last night’s Golden Globes telecast. They did an impressive job, and it was no easy task.

    Amid the glitz and glamour of last night’s awards show were crude jokes and explicit dialogue spoken by a number of celebrity presenters, award winners, and the host, Ricky Gervais. NBC caught most of it and dropped the audio. (And how refreshing to have mere silence instead of the ubiquitous and harshly obtrusive “bleep” sound that broadcasters insert to make it abundantly clear to everyone that profanity is being used!)

    Make no mistake, it wasn’t a perfectly clean Globes broadcast. There was still enough adult content (milder unmuted expletives, sexual dialogue, some violence) to cause concern for parents who may have been watching with their children and to warrant the TV-14 DL content rating. But thankfully, most of the explicit language was muted and viewers at home weren’t exposed to the most offensive content.

    Commentators are abuzz about all the muted content. Yet nobody is talking about why NBC was so diligent in muting it. The reason comes down to dollars, cents and the broadcast licenses of its affiliates: But for the network removing all the f-bombs and other explicit dialogue, NBC likely would be facing huge financial sanctions by the Federal Communications Commission for violating the broadcast indecency law.

    It is important to remember that NBC allowed an f-bomb to air in a Golden Globes telecast a dozen or so years ago. Thousands of Americans filed formal broadcast indecency complaints at the FCC. The FCC initially ruled it was just a “fleeting expletive” that didn’t rise to the level of indecency; but after public outrage – and bipartisan condemnation from Capitol Hill – the FCC reversed itself and determined the broadcast to have been legally indecent. Years of legal arguments ensued, and the case was fought all the way to the Supreme Court. Despite NBC’s claim that it enjoyed a constitutional right to air f-bombs at all times of the day – even when children are watching – the Court sided with the public, upholding the FCC’s enforcement of broadcast indecency before 10:00 pm.

    The Parents Television Council was the driving force that led successfully to the broadcast indecency law being upheld. We were the driving force behind the ten-fold increase in fines for broadcasters who violated the indecency law. And today the PTC continues to be the driving force for the broadcast indecency law’s ongoing enforcement. Had the FCC not sanctioned a TV station last year for airing indecent material, NBC might have decided to air give its “bleep button” staff the night off. In fact, NBC and the other networks might not even have a “bleep button” staff at all, had it not been for the FCC’s enforcement action last year.

    Unfortunately for American families, there has been a paradigm shift with entertainment industry awards shows in recent years. Instead of being a Hollywood celebration that was broadcast into America’s living rooms, now families must go into Hollywood’s venue, which is filled with raunchy and explicit content. But it underscores the importance of the broadcast indecency law: without that law and its enforcement, there would have been no need for NBC to mute explicit language at the Golden Globes.

    So, thank you to the unsung heroes – NBC’s broadcast standards team and the millions of Americans who have supported the broadcast indecency law – and the FCC’s enforcement of that law – through the years. Your work to protect children has not gone unnoticed.



    Tim Winter is president of the Parents Television Council. He has more than 20 years in broadcasting, cable, internet and new media technologies, along with a law degree.

    17 Responses to Applause for the Unsung Heroes of NBC’s Golden Globes Broadcast

    1. January 17, 2016 at 11:41 pm

      Nice post. Loved it.. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Brian
      January 16, 2016 at 9:24 am

      I have absolutely no idea why someone, who has watched in the past, and would know that they will make it as raunchy as possible, would even want to watch this trash anymore. All it is now is a bunch of over paid people (most of which can barely act anyway) patting themselves on the back. We have way bigger issues going on in the world today and the least of which is who won what for a minimal performance. What a waste of time. I will give kudos to parentstv for making ever effort to sensor a show that #1. they know is going to use profanity and #2. Trying to keep profanity from kids whose irresponsible parents are allowing them to watch it.

    3. Mary
      January 15, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      Standard are absolutely necessary. Otherwise there will be no limit to what will be readily available and when.

    4. Jeannette
      January 15, 2016 at 12:16 pm

      Thank you so much for being there and your diligence. It did my heart good to hear about all the progress we have made It makes a better world for our children!

    5. kt
      January 15, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Thanks for silencing some of the trash. Of course, most of it can be figured out anyway. Don’t know why Ricky G. is chosen – he tries to get away with as much as he can. Would like to see awards programs become more classy and not have to be ready to bleep people who should be showing more class than many of them do. These are people whose craft is being recognized as outstanding, yet many of them act like doofusses in front of the mike.

      • moax429
        January 15, 2016 at 8:41 pm

        Well said. I also pretty much stopped watching these awards shows altogether.

        I remember, for example, when the Emmy Awards was very classy back in the early 70′s when I was a kid, and when quality productions (such as those from Mary Tyler Moore’s and Norman Lear’s now-defunct mills) were worthy of the awards. Now it – like the Golden Globes – has become nothing more than an showcase for these obnoxious, foul-mouthed “comics,” and the “entertainment” “Hollyweird” deems worthy of these awards today are hardly worth watching.

        But, thank you, NBC, for bleeping out the obscenities for those who were subjected to this waste of time and strive for something better and more palatable.

    6. Dorothy Jaasma
      January 15, 2016 at 7:46 am

      Right on, Justin. Keep up the good work PTC, We don’t have cable or satellite and only watch over the air programming. However, even then, we watch none of the regular programming because of the suggestive nature and/or violent content. We need more of the “Decades” programs as on 20,3 over the air and old TV series programs that are on H&I Channel 2.3 here in Houston. this may be an NBC affiliate, as well.

    7. Ann
      January 15, 2016 at 7:39 am

      Thanks to the PTC for their role in trying to keep the Golden Globes a broadcast that families could enjoy. It’s too bad that the Golden Globes board chose to have Gervais back after his disgusting emcee role a few years ago. At one time, the Globes were a pleasure to watch as we were able to see people from the international movie industry—however, the show has fallen into the hands of a filthy-mouthed few who try to outdo each other with their obscenities. I’ll not watch it again.

    8. Rita
      January 15, 2016 at 4:48 am

      I started the New Year off by cutting cable altogether. Tired of all the trash.

    9. Linda Almeter
      January 15, 2016 at 4:23 am

      Thank you to PTC, Tim Winter, and NBC for helping to make the Golden Globes Awards more palatable. I wish that the award recipients would understand that a classy acceptance speech does not require expletives. Those speeches that give thanks and honor to coworkers, directors, family members, and/or point out the plight of marginal persons who are pointed out in good films are good speeches. BEST Speech? Fred Rogers . . . most poignant, beautiful, heartfelt speeches . . . that brought tears to the eyes of celebs in the audience and those speeches are repeated on social media and enjoyed and remembered and will for years to come. Fred did not need expletives to hold the viewing world in the palm of his hand.

    10. Justin
      January 12, 2016 at 9:11 am

      I stopped watching all awards shows last year. Before then I thought I kind of liked the Globes because it was more casual than the Oscars, but I decided last year that I was tired of all the profane junk (Stay classy, you “glamorous” stars!). In the past year or so I’ve also become more disgusted with Hollywood content in general. Even on TV, when an R rated movie is edited to be shown with a TV-14 rating and I decide to give it a chance, they’ll bleep out the f-bombs and sometimes “s***” (if it’s before 10 PM), but leave in all the taking of God’s name in vain. If they’re going to bleep f-bombs, why not bleep the REALLY profane thing of taking God’s name in vain?

      • Neil
        January 15, 2016 at 5:30 am

        Justin, I totally agree with your point. In my adult years, the words that I find most offensive of all are taking the Lord’s name in vain. This is related to an individual’s world view. If someone does not revere God, or does not believe He exists, then His name is not sacred and it’s no big deal to take it in vain. It’s hard to listen to, for sure.

        To the PTC, thank you for your continued efforts to reverse the negative trends in Hollywood. I wish so much that the writers, producers and actors could connect with just how damaging some of these shows and movies are. Their reach is so far and so influential on kids (and adults). In my opinion, the connection between immoral shows/movies and increased violent crimes is very clear. We some visionaries in Hollywood that are able to see the big picture and how much the immoral programming is hurting our culture, our families and our country.

        • Mike
          February 1, 2016 at 1:10 pm

          Neil, violent crime rates have actually been going down in the US since the mid 90s (look it up, it’s true) so I could argue the exact opposite and say that “immoral” Hollywood content is making our country less violent.

      • Frank
        January 15, 2016 at 7:33 am

        I wholeheartedly agree with Justin! My thoughts exactly.

      • Melanie
        January 15, 2016 at 7:52 am

        I agree, Justin. I am tired of all these raunchy celebrities who clearly are desperate for attention, and will do anything to get it. I just have no interest in them at all. My family and I NEVER watch these shows.

      • Weston Zach
        January 15, 2016 at 8:54 am

        Well stated Justin. I avoid watching television in general at this point. Everything we watch is on discs.


      • Parker
        January 26, 2016 at 7:18 am

        Pct you have no regard for writers who write comedy for adults. You only target shows that are for adults and not children’s shows, and because of this kid’s shows run rampant with awful programming that if put to it I would rather have my kids watch Family Guy.

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