Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, May 15, 2021

Yes, XM Satellite Radio’s decision to hand down a 30-day suspension to Opie and Anthony over their latest racist/sexist crudefest is evidence that shock-jockery is no safer on unregulated satellite broadcasts than it is on the old-fashioned terrestrial waves.

But there are more complex reasons behind XM’s move (even though it ultimately comes down to the cha-ching):

The fact that XM was willing to suspend Opie and Anthony is proof that offensive programming could hurt even satellite radio, a medium that does not depend on advertising dollars as free radio does. XM and Sirius do have to worry about losing subscribers if shock jocks go too far.

The suspension also demonstrates how scared the satellite radio companies are of looking like the poster children for bad behavior at a time when XM and Sirius will depend on the goodwill of the government to green-light their merger.

Actually, I think more concern is addressed toward the latter factor than the former. More subscribers probably will drop XM in the wake of this suspension, than would theoretically leave if the everyday content got too risque.

This is an example of industry self-censorship: The instance of a private concern preemptively taking corrective action against itself, in order to stave off actual governmental intervention. It’s more alarming than if the government were to get involved, as it eliminates the popular-will element (or at least defers it; the paying customers can make their feelings known later, when it comes time to renew subscriptions).

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 05/15/2007 11:43:07 PM
Category: Business, Radio
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Hate having to stop at the toll booth to dunk your change dollars before driving into the City? Don’t feel like signing up for E-ZPass?

You may not have to bother with either soon. As part of proposed measures designed to lessen congestion in the Five Boroughs, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is considering instituting all-electronic tolling:

Over 70 percent of motorists using the six crossings [into New York City] already use E-ZPass, which tracks drivers with electronic devices attached to their windshields and bills them at the end of the month for tolls.

Those motorists without E-ZPass would be billed after security cameras photographed their license plate and sent invoices in the mail, [Port Authority executive director Anthony] Shorris said.

If they’re going to capture digital photos of every car that whizzes through anyway, I don’t see why E-ZPass is even necessary. At that point, you’re going to get billed anyway, whether you drive into New York daily or once a month.

I realize they’re already using cameras to record potential non-paying drivethrus. Still, there’s something unsettling about being involuntarily opted-in to this system.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 05/15/2007 11:21:28 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Politics
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caged heat
Let the record show:

When Paris Hilton argues that she should rightly avoid jail time because she “provides beauty and excitement” to the world, she’s actually drawing on solid legal precedent.

What precedent, you ask? None other than the “too pretty for prison” defense that Tampa Bay-area teacher Debra Lafave’s lawyer used to beat a pedophile rap. And both women are blondes — I’m sure that served as some sort of legal litmus test for Hilton’s counsel.

Order in the court, indeed.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 05/15/2007 11:06:12 PM
Category: Celebrity, Florida Livin', True Crime
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The scene this morning, after I got my order of tall tea at Starbucks:

A woman walks in, dragging a big chunk of luggage while talking loudly to the cellphone that’s glued to her ear/shoulder. She plants the luggage off to one side, then gets into line.

In that approximate minute, she drops probably a half-dozen instances of “fuck”, “fucking”, “motherfucking”, and associated lesser curse words. Loudly.

The line progresses forward at a steady clip. She’s still yammering away, still peppering her end of the conversation with curse words. A guy a few slots behind her starts trying to get her attention with, “Miss? Miss?”

She snaps out of her phone-zone to look back at the guy calling out to her. He tells her something to the effect of, “Please stop cursing in front of everyone.”

She tells him something like, “Fuck off/You can’t tell me what to do/Mind your own fucking business.”

The baristas get into the act, and sensing the zeitgeist, tell the woman that she’s disturbing the other guests and that she should go ahead and leave.

Woman gets flustered, then stalks off to retrieve her luggage. During this time, she declares, “Fuck you, I’ll sue your asses. That’s why I work for lawyers, so I don’t have to pay them.”

As she drags her way out the door, she parts with, “I hope God gets you now, for messing with my business and causing me this pain.”

I don’t believe she’s hung up her phone during this whole sequence. Once she walks two or three steps outside, I see her through the glass doors, standing in the middle of the sidewalk, putting the phone back up to her ear, and talking animatedly.

Inside the store, I take a sip of my tea and think, “Well, at least I have something to blog about now.”

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 05/15/2007 10:19:01 PM
Category: Comedy, New Yorkin'
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