Shock radio programs’ offensive language has tested the limits of contemporary censorship for years, drawing throngs of listeners – both supporters and opponents – and making corporations millions of dollars off the controversies.
However, according to Media Life magazine, “shock jocks” like Bubba the Love Sponge and Howard Stern have moved their shows to satellite radio providers, where they are funded by private subscribers and can avoid indecency fines from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
That’s why it’s unacceptable that the student-run Bulls Radio program “On Ya’ll Hoes,” or any other program with similar unethical content, is supported by funds from a public university and its student body – despite the illusion that “anything goes” because the program is broadcast online.
Leaders of Bulls Radio and Student Government (SG) should pull the plug.
The equipment, domain name and other resources used to create the program are funded by student-paid Activity and Service (A&S) fees allocated by SG, in addition to public tax dollars allocated to USF that aid the show in the form of facilities, maintenance and even parking enforcement.
Despite the fact that the program is online and therefore not covered by FCC decency standards, as host DJ Double Gulp and his guest proclaimed on their first show, it’s no secret that the program is affiliated with USF. To even access the program, one must go to the Bulls Radio website, which includes the USF Athletics logo in it’s own and is linked to the SG website.
Therefore, statements like “Oh yeah, s— we can f—— cuss today,” “I’ma cuss all f—— night,” and “When is it appropriate to say c—?,” as said by DJ Double Gulp and guests on a show last month, are not only a representation of Bulls Radio, but the University as a whole.
With financial strains making universities across the country tighten their belts by limiting services or reducing staff, there’s little money available to waste on producing a program that frames its content around saying what wouldn’t be acceptable on traditional radio.
In light of budget cuts from the Florida Legislature, USF has become increasingly dependent on alumni donations – donations that could trickle to a halt if a former Bull or parent of a current student were to hear, “There’s two b—— (A&S fee-paying students) right there playing pool,” broadcasted from USF’s student radio station.
According to the Unstoppable fundraising campaign website, the University has raised $394,519,805 in alumni donations since its inception in Oct. 2009.
Bulls Radio is not in a position to play fast and loose with little to no oversight.
An online program has the potential to reach a greater audience than if it was run primarily on air – even with the station’s partnership with WMNF that allows it to be broadcast on an HD2 radio channel and be heard not just on campus, but throughout the Tampa Bay area.
In an official statement published on the Bulls Radio website, Programming Director Greg Johnson, who appeared on at least one episode of “On Ya’ll Hoes,” wrote, “As the Programming Director, it is my responsibility to ensure that we have quality programming that is pleasing to the student body. I’m committed to delivering content to EVERY student on this campus regardless of race, religion, political affiliation, etc. and that includes our ‘outlandish’ individuals as well.”
Johnson went on to say that he would not turn down the “‘unethical and misunderstood’ members of society,” looking for their own show on the radio station, and that neglecting these students could lead to “situations such as the unfortunate events of Columbine or Virginia Tech.”
Bulls Radio and USF’s reputation shouldn’t be held hostage by volunteer disc jockeys who need to entertain themselves and their friends out of fear of Virginia Tech-style retribution.
Just allowing any and every person to make a show, as is the case with “On Ya’ll Hoes,” creates a stain on the character of USF and its students, who are paying for and are represented by the show.
The show’s racist and derogatory remarks against women will certainly affect USF’s image and are valid fodder for criticisms over the hiring of current Bulls Radio director Brett Ferrar – who had no prior experience at a radio station – last semester instead of keeping five-year Bulls Radio veteran and former radio Director Michael Ranon.
SG leaders should not stand idly by while University and student dollars go to programs that seem to violate the stations own policies that don’t allow DJs to “say or wear or hold anything that says any words or terms that relate to anyone’s sex, race, ethnicity, religious background or sexual preference.”
This program, like similar shows, should be funded by the people who enjoy the shock value they strive so diligently to produce and not the general public or the USF student body.