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Arizona Country Music Station Criminally Investigated For PSA That Explains How to Hide Your Child Porn

Imagine this: a radio station that, between country-and-western standards new and old, broadcasts a message instructing listeners on how to hide their child porn collection when law enforcement comes knocking. Turns out that this is very real. At least it was, until the station in question–KAVV-FM in Benson, Arizona–some of its advertisers, and the Federal Communications Commissons began receiving death threats and complaints regarding the ad.

Here’s how the PSA goes, in part: “If you have such material [child porn], you can save yourselves and your family a ton of grief and save the taxpayers a lot of money by never storing such pictures on the hard drive of your computer. Always use an external drive and hide it where nobody will ever find it. Likewise, never keep paper pictures, tapes or films of naked juveniles where anybody else can find them.” You can listen to an audio excerpt here.

KAVV did not run the ad as a weird one-off. The airwaves were not hijacked. In fact, the ad had been running for two years, CBS reports, before complaints compelled them to discontinue it this week. Mark Dannels, a sheriff in Arizona’s Cochise County, decided to open an investigation into the ad’s legality on Tuesday, calling it “disgusting and unacceptable.”

As he said in a statement, Sheriff Dannels’ argument for illegality is that the PSA is “enticing people and providing the information that says, ‘Hey, if you’re going to look at child porn, this is what you need to do so the cop doesn’t catch you.'” He continued: “Freedom of speech does not include telling people to commit crimes.”

But as the Associated Press reports, Cochise County’s Attorney Brian McIntyre and other pundits believe that the ad is totally legal under the First Amendment.

Paul Lotsof, the KAVV manager who recited the ad, offered this defense to Arizona’s KPHO, claiming that the ad was a protest of exorbitant sentencing laws:

“Please take notice that the PSA in question does not condone child pornography in any way; it merely points out that the penalties for possession of child pornography are draconian, to the extent that the real victims are the people serving these incredibly long sentences. The suggestion that anyone in possession of such material be warned to get rid of it or take steps to avoid prosecution serves to emphasize that the penalty provisions of the law – calling for 10 years’ imprisonment per image – are so extreme that the greater harm is in the enforcement of the law. The PSA does provide factual information and that information is perfectly accurate and important.”

AP also reports that Lotsof issued another statement about the matter online today, in which he writes positively about the national exposure the PSA has brought to the issue and his town, while blasting the “self appointed guardians of the public morals” who have criticized him as “mobsters and raving hypocrites.”

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[Billboard / Associated Press]