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                   DISSENTING STATEMENT OF 

Re:  Clear Channel Communications, Inc.

     Before the Commission enters into a settlement 
agreement, it should understand the full scope of what it is 
addressing.  Today, the Commission instead enters into a 
consent decree with Clear Channel to settle all of the 
outstanding indecency complaints against the company without 
understanding the extent of the indecency that was 
broadcast. Additionally, the Commission removes all 
consideration of this issue from the license reapplication 
process.  Despite my colleague's assertion, my dissent is 
about process¾and the process here is inadequate.  What 
message do we send to citizens when we fail even to 
investigate their complaints before making a sweeping 

     Here is what we do know.  We know there are indecency 
complaints concerning at least 200 broadcasts pending 
against Clear Channel.  To the extent that some of these 
broadcasts were likely aired on more than one station, the 
number of indecency incidents could grow much larger.  We 
also know that over two-thirds of the indecency fines 
proposed by the Commission since 2000 have been against 
Clear Channel.  We further know that the Commission relies 
entirely on viewers and listeners to file complaints about 
indecent broadcasts.  The FCC places a heavy burden on 
complaining citizens to submit tapes, transcripts, or 
significant excerpts of broadcasts before it will even 
initiate an investigation.  Citizens have a right to expect 
Commission follow-through on their complaints.  Yet all too 
often, these complaints languish unaddressed at the 
Commission for a year or more.  Today a majority decides 
that, rather than investigate these pending complaints or 
even seek information about these broadcasts as part of the 
settlement discussions, it will wipe the slate clean for 
Clear Channel. 

     I recognize that Clear Channel in recent months has 
taken promising steps to curtail indecency on its stations.  
I commend the company's initiative, yet I believe the 
Commission has a duty to get an accounting of the broadcasts 
at issue before finalizing a settlement agreement.  Absent 
this process, I do not believe we have the information 
needed to evaluate whether this consent decree truly serves 
the public interest or whether it even responds to the many 
pending but uninvestigated complaints.   

     I am also troubled by the possible effect of today's 
decision on the Commission's license renewal process.  The 
totality of a broadcasters' record is pertinent and should 
be considered when licenses are renewed.  Today's decision 
takes this entire part of the record off the table.  We are 
closing our ears to any citizen who believes that a 
station's indecency actions over the term of its license 
have any bearing on its fitness to continue using the public 
airwaves.  This settlement reaches too far and grants too 
much.  It is bad enough that our re-licensing process has 
degenerated to the point where the Commission generally does 
not even look at a station's public file or inquire further 
into the station's service to its community unless a citizen 
of that particular community brings an issue to our 
attention.  Today, the Commission tells those citizens that 
their complaints no longer matter.  If we are not actually 
changing the rules of the game, we are at a minimum sending 
a wrong and discouraging signal to those citizens upon whom 
we rely in implementing the law. 

     It should be a cautionary note that the Commission has 
gone down this road before.  Over eight years ago, the FCC 
entered into a similar kind of agreement with Infinity 
Broadcasting to settle a smaller number of proposed 
forfeitures and pending indecency complaints.  Under that 
agreement, Infinity paid practically the same amount that 
Clear Channel is paying here and adopted a similar 
compliance plan to reduce indecent broadcasts.  At that 
time, the Commission praised the level of the payment and 
the steps Infinity took to ensure compliance with the 
indecency laws.  I don't know of anyone who claims that the 
1995 consent decree has resulted in less indecency on the 
airwaves.  In fact, over the past few years, Infinity is 
second only to Clear Channel in the number of fines.   Some 
would have us believe these fines are powerful disincentives 
to big companies broadcasting indecency.  But one or two 
million dollar fines need to be seen in the context of these 
mega-companies' multi-billion dollar revenue streams.  

     Going forward, I hope my colleagues will accord prompt 
and vigorous attention to any future listener complaints 
against Clear Channel.  Perhaps the company will be so 
vigilant that there will be none.  In the meantime, I am 
reminded that President Reagan, whose passing America mourns 
this week, admonished us ``to trust but verify.''   His 
statement was made in a foreign policy context, but I think 
it is equally applicable here. 

     This Commission, charged with significant public 
responsibilities, must always be at pains to demonstrate to 
citizens that their complaints will not be brushed aside and 
to let industry know that Commission involvement in these 
issues is not a passing fancy.  Our job at the FCC is to 
enforce the law and to ensure that all avenues of citizen 
redress are open to those who wish to use them.