Ethical Issues in Broadcast Management
Imagine that you are a General Manager of a local Western Market television station. However, at 4 a.m. you receive a shocking call from your social media director.
The station's overnight Technical Director mistakenly broadcasted full-frontal pornography over the air for 15 seconds. In addition, the network is being bombarded with phone calls, emails, and social media messages.
A mixture of responses come in from viewers who are disgusted. Alternatively, some viewers that would like to see more sexual content.
What would you do? That is the purpose of this case study. As a broadcaster and a journalist, I understand that our primary responsibility is to the public.
The first thing I would do is to make sure our social media, public relations, marketing and sales staff have been alerted about the incident.
I would also make sure that they have been re-briefed on our business practices, procedures, and the policies in place to handle negative publicity.
After addressing the public through social media, the next step is to find out the financial impact and utilize to make deontological and teleological ethics to estimate the damage.
I would call an emergency meeting to address and inform all staff of the issue while contacting our advertisers and sponsors. Since the video only aired for 15 seconds, within the hours of “safe harbor.”
Therefore the station should not be fined by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), so we would hold a press conference to address Congress, the Press, and the FCC.
We will also review and discuss the ethical practices that are in place for all station employees, which include broadcast practices as well as employee operational procedure.
The focus of the meeting will consist of a damage assessment, a review of the disciplinary actions, and an evaluation of actionable steps we can execute.