Bubba the Love Sponge has been fired. Howard Stern is losing air. And Joe “Stock Jock” Blarneyman has been put on notice.
“The Federal Communications Commission told the radio stations syndicating my show that use of the word ‘deficit’ may violate election year decency standards,” says Mr. Blarneyman. “They also said I may not be able to use the term ‘tax hikes’ again until sometime in 2005.”
Mr. Blarneyman, a mild-mannered accountant, hosts “Joe’s Gross” a daily three hour radio program featuring commentary about the impact of finance, taxes and the economy on the average worker’s wages. He’s known as the Stock Jock because of the investing tips he sprinkles throughout each broadcast.
In contrast to the defiance displayed by his fellow talk show hosts, Mr. Blarneyman seems to find the FCC action unsettling. Nonetheless, he vows to continue his work, saying he will “call a deficit a deficit” despite the mandate of zero tolerance.
The controversy has had a positive effect on Mr. Blarneyman’s audience share. That may be one reason his employer, Talk Channel Hosting, is—for the moment, at least—defending him.
“This crackdown has gone too far,” says Mike Fined, executive vice president of law and government affairs at Talk Channel. “The way the FCC is acting, you’d think Joe was asking people to bare their financial assets on air.”