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City prices vulgarity at radio concerts

A ticket to next month's Wildsplash hip-hop concert: $18.

An emcee using the F-word on stage: $2,500.

Keeping the folks who live around Coachman Park happy: Well, that's priceless.

Fed up with the vulgar language of its outdoor concerts geared toward young people, the city of Clearwater is saying it will fine promoters $2,500 each time their employees use the F-word on stage.

The fines won't stop cursing entirely. And they would only be levied against the promoters of concerts in Coachman Park.

It's just not possible to censor the performers, said city Parks and Recreation director Kevin Dunbar. If authorities even tried, they'd probably curse more.

The penalties will be in place for all Coachman Park events, Dunbar said, though it's really directed at two radio-station sponsored concerts, WSUN-FM 97.1's Next Big Thing and WLLD-FM 98.7's Wildsplash.

Dunbar said the city has not had problems with the Wildsplash event, which is March 11 and features eight acts.

But the $2,500 fine is large enough "that people take the point seriously," Dunbar said. Fines would be levied only for the F-word and would be deducted from concert revenues, city officials said.

Drew Fleming, marketing director with WILD 98.7, had not heard about the fines, but said the station planned to work with the city.

The waterfront venue in downtown Clearwater is too important to lose, Fleming said.

"I don't think our station has ever had a problem," Fleming said. "We've made the effort to make sure it's a clean show."

Possible fines were raised by the City Council in December after council members again complained about 97X's alternative show, Next Big Thing. That event is notorious with neighbors of Coachman Park.

At the most recent concert, people living more than 2,000 feet from the stage protested afterward that they could clearly hear the emcee, who used the vulgarity at least twice.

He still may not care. But next time it will cost him to say so on that stage.

NEW RULES

From the amended city contract with Wildsplash promoter, WILD 98.7, a CBS Radio company:

"CBS Radio agrees that CBS Representatives shall not use the (F-word) at any time during the Event. Any such use shall result in a monetary fine of Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($2,500.00) per occurrence and shall be deducted as a penalty expense from CBS revenues."

"No lewd, indecent, or obscene conduct or language shall be included in activities or events presented by CBS Radio."

"In addition, CBS Representatives shall refrain from encouraging illegal drug usage."

Source: City of Clearwater

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