Each student in KZSC’s Intro to Radio class dreads the FCC lecture: they are bombarded with facts, restrictions, and nebulous definitions of what they can and cannot say on-air. But there is a shimmer of hope: it is also the day that we talk about George Carlin.
George Carlin (may he rest in peace) was known for his black sense of humor, cultural irreverence, and these seven words: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. Any Intro to Radio student could recite them to you at the drop of a hat, and not because it’s really fun to swear in a classroom. Those seven words, (which started off as a laundry list of things you cannot say on television) were the basis of the seminal lawsuit against the California-based Pacifica Foundation which stated that they could not only be said on television, but on radio as well. Today, they are the first thing anyone volunteering at KZSC learns, the question that torments students from the first days of class to their final. Yes, Howard Stern’s shock jock antics and overwhelming vulgarity do bear mentioning, but it is Carlin who provides concrete examples for some of the most difficult concepts to grasp in learning radio. Take it away, George.