Sunday, November 20, 2011

Seven Dirty Words You Can Never Say on the Radio... in America*

As an employee at a radio station, one of the cultural nuances I've picked up on in Italy is the nature of their radio. This is one area that the United States has figured out, and Italy is a bit behind the curve. I can't really discern between stations, since they all play the same music. There's a random mixing of songs - both in English and Italian - that doesn't seem to have any sort of flow or continuity to it (and it doesn't help that Italian music is stuck in the 90's). And, most of all, I've noticed that Italy has little to no FCC.
I walked into a leather shop the other day with my father in search of a new notebook - the only souvenir that I can't leave without. As we were accosted by a saleswoman at the door, my ear tuned to the music above. It was American music, but I didn't know the song; I'd never heard it on the radio... and rightfully so. Soon after turning my attention to the daunting price tags, the man singing belted out one of the dirtiest expletives that I've ever heard in public.
I instantly stopped in my tracks. It wasn't the first time I had heard an FCC violation on an Italian radio station, but it was definitely the most offensive. I looked around the store to note that there were no fewer than three young children present, and no one else seemed to bat an eye. Do they just not understand the language? Is filthy language permitted on the radio in Italy so long as most people don't get it? Or is it just socially acceptable in Italy to proclaim vulgarities about genitalia over the radio waves? Since I work in American radio, I'm inclined to think that our methods are more correct; conducting a show back home in the "Italian way" would get any DJ fired on the spot.

*This blog post also serves as Writing Exercise #12 for CM316; there are four sentences within this post that contain "facts."

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