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What you can and can't say on the radio

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Note: This report contains coarse language.

After this week’s ruling on the song Money for Nothing by Dire Straits, regulators say there is no definitive list of words unacceptable for broadcast in Canada.

News1130 is exploring what you can and can’t say on the radio, and we should tell you the language does get a little coarse.

It’s all about the complaints to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. It was a single caller that resulted in the censoring of the line that includes the word ‘faggot’ in Money for Nothing.

But the chair of the CBSC tells the National Post it’s never had to deal with the “n-word.” Ronald Cohen says maybe it doesn’t get on the air much, or maybe there have simply been no complaints.

There have been precedents set on what is allowed for broadcast. ‘Crap,’ ‘ass,’ ‘bitch,’ and ‘goddammit’ have all been deemed acceptable. So has ‘sh*t,’ unless you’re calling someone a piece of it. You can do that on the radio, but only after 9 p.m.

The ‘f-word’ in all forms is also fine for broadcast but, again, only after 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, a rock station in Halifax says it will repeat the unedited version of Money for Nothing for a full hour today. Q104’s program director, J.C. Douglas, tells Macleans he is concerned with the precedent set by the CBSC, calling it a “tragic error in judgment” that puts the independent watchdog on “the slippery slope to censorship.”

He says there will be members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community on hand for the marathon of the song, which he says is satirical.