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Radio Duo Canned For 'Indecency'

An edgy and sometimes controversial radio duo has been canned as the latest victim of Clear Channel Communications' zero-tolerance policy.

Larry Wachs and Eric Von Haessler, also known as 96 Rock's "The Regular Guys," were fired Friday after Clear Channel finished its investigation of a March 19 radio skit in which explicit sexual talk was broadcast during a car commercial. The move comes a day after shock jock Howard Stern was fired for alleged indecency.

"In line with our zero-tolerance policy and after conducting a thorough investigation of a March 19 broadcast on WKLS-FM, we have decided we will no longer broadcast 'The Regular Guys,'" Clear Channel Vice President Pat McDonnell said in a statement.

Phone calls to his office by The Associated Press were not answered, and a message left at Clear Channel's headquarters in San Antonio, Texas was not immediately returned.

Wachs and Von Haessler regularly ranked first or second on Arbitron among 18- to 49-year-old men. They also could not be reached by phone for comment Friday.

In an attempt to mock the Federal Communications Commission's crackdown on indecency after Janet Jackson flashed her breast during the Super Bowl, Wachs and Von Haessler planned a stunt called "backward smut."

The two taped porn star Devinn Lane talking dirty, then played it backward over the air. The prank went awry when they accidentally left a microphone on and listeners heard explicit sexual talk during a Honda commercial. The FCC received complaints.

Clear Channel received notice Thursday that the FCC was planning to levy a $495,000 fine against the company for 18 violations the commission said were committed on Howard Stern's show. Stern was fired, and Clear Channel has 30 days to contest the $495,000 fine.

Clear Channel suspended Stern in February from its six stations that carry his program, which regularly features graphic sexual discussion and humor. It decided to make the move permanent after the Federal Communications Commission cited the chain for 18 alleged violations from Stern's April 9, 2003, show.

"Mr. Stern's show has created a great liability for us and other broadcasters who air it," said John Hogan, president of Clear Channel Radio. "The Congress and the FCC are even beginning to look at revoking station licenses. That's a risk we're just not willing to take."

In a statement posted on his Web site, Stern said he was not surprised by the fine. He characterized it as furtherance of a "witch hunt" against him by the Bush administration.

The company last month agreed to pay a record $755,000 indecency fine for broadcasts by the disc jockey known as "Bubba the Love Sponge," who was also fired.