Spongemonkeys: The Latest "Indecency" Fatality

Gretchen Gallen
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- While Clear Channel hangs its head in shame over alleged acts of "indecency," the company's President and CEO John Hogan has gone on a broadcast media witch hunt in a manner that some critics are likening to the Bush Administration's clampdown on obscenity.

The latest fatality in the push to cleanse the airwaves of all "indecent" media content now includes the hilarious and quirky Spongemonky characters seen recently in a nationwide Quiznos Corporation ad campaign in which the craggy-toothed, hamster-like monkeys sing about the virtues of eating Quiznos submarine sandwiches.

The ad campaign, which has captured the hearts of many viewers, was immediately pulled by Quiznos after Clear Channel's Hogan denounced the singing monkeys as being "obscene and disgusting" and "oozing sexuality."

The Spongemonkys are the creation of Joel Veitch who will continue to feature the hilarious singing duo on his website RatherGood.com.

Hogan's media witch hunt follows the indefinite suspension of the Howard Stern radio show in six markets after Stern interviewed Rick Solomon and broke some of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) rules on what words can and cannot be spoken over the airwaves during the hours of 6 am to 10 pm.

Clear Channel claims that its decision to get rid of Stern was based on a new zero tolerance 'Responsible Broadcasting Initiative' the company implemented at the urging of the FCC.

Howard Stern's show is syndicated by Infinity Broadcasting, which is owned by Viacom. Viacom also owns CBS and MTV.

Hogan stood before the House Energy Commerce Committee this week with several other broadcast executives and promised lawmakers that Clear Channel would cleanse itself of all "raunchy and indecent programs."

Clear Channel executives have now said that they will hold all disc jockeys financially responsible for uttering indecent material on the air. Shock jock Stern is said to have lost $1 million of his own personal money over the indecency incident.

Hogan reportedly said that he was "personally embarrassed" by Clear Channel content.

“If a DJ is found to be in violation of FCC rules, there will be no appeals and no intermediate steps," Hogan said in a statement. "If they break the law by broadcasting indecent material, they will not work for Clear Channel."

The visit before congress was the result of Janet Jackson's breast baring stunt at the Super Bowl, a matter that resulted in a flood of public complaints and a summoning of ABC, NBC, and Fox executives to Capitol Hill.

The broadcasters agreed to attend an industry conference on obscenity, and according to reports, ABC's president promised that Sunday's Academy Awards show would be audio and visually time-delayed for the first time in its 76-year history.

A few weeks prior to the fallout over shock jock Stern, Clear Channel cancelled a similarly flagrant radio broadcast by another morning shock jock, Bubba The Love Sponge, which was also picked up by the FCC's indecency radar.

Clear Channel was fined $755,000 for a series of sexually explicit broadcasts on the Bubba The Love Sponge show and faces possible revocation of FCC licenses at six of its Florida stations. Although according to reports, the broadcaster has not yet decided if it will pay the fine or contest it.

Clear Channel is the largest U.S. radio station operator with more than 1,200 outlets.

Spongemonky creator Joel Veitch was unavailable for comment at the time of this printing.