NBC affiliate KSL-TV has informed the network that it won't broadcast the drama series "The Playboy Club" that is scheduled to begin in September because "significant portions of [the station's] audience may find [it] objectionable." According to Joe Flint, entertainment blogger for the Los Angeles Times, KSL's refusal to broadcast network programming "isn't a huge deal" because NBC will probably find another station in the market that will air the show, and if not, "odds are episodes will end up on Hulu or some other website. In other words, people in Salt Lake who really want to see the show won't be denied."
I agree with Flint that technology provides solutions to this issue, but I think it should work in the other direction. Rather than letting KSL decide what its viewers should and should not be allowed to view, let the viewers choose what they want to see. From what I hear, "The Playboy Club" contains less "adult" content than a typical episode of NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (a police drama that features frank discussions of rape and other violence in pretty much every episode), and KSL seems to trust its viewers to change channels or turn off the TV if they object to that show. Parental control features are built into most TVs, cable and satellite receivers, and DVRs these days. Parents who are unable or unwilling to deal with configuring those appropriately could take the drastic step of just chucking television from their homes entirely.
Bill Baker, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, says "...KSL’s decision to stick with its values in the face of NBC’s disapproval is admirable and courageous. No matter how profitable it may be for some, I, for one, do not want to live in a world where local communities have no say in what they watch on television." "Local communities" don't watch television; individuals watch television, and most communities let individuals decide what they watch on television. KSL's community is special, though. It's in Salt Lake City, Utah—in fact, it appears to be the only NBC affiliate in the state—and its parent company Bonneville International is owned by the Church of The Latter-day Saints. KSL President and CEO Mark Willes says, "The Playboy brand is known internationally. Everyone is clear what it stands for." Yes, and those who don't like what it stands for can find something else to watch or do when the program runs.