This is seen as a victory for broadcasters, and it is, but it's not a total victory. This is a classic example of "judicial restraint," the very concept that has many believing SCOTUS will overturn the individual mandate of Obamacare but not the whole thing. From Fox News:
"Because the FCC failed to give FOX or ABC fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionably indecent, the Commissions' standards as applied to these broadcasts were vague," the Supreme Court said in its opinion.
The court said the FCC is "free to modify its current indecency policy" in light of the ruling.
The justices, though, declined to issue a broad ruling on the constitutionality of the FCC indecency policy. Instead, the court concluded only that broadcasters could not have known in advance that obscenities uttered during awards show programs and a brief display of nudity on an episode of ABC's NYPD Blue could give rise to sanctions. ABC and 45 affiliates were hit with proposed fines totaling nearly $1.24 million.
The court isn't challenging the FCC's authority to regulate indecency and its sole issue with this policy is the way it was executed. Based on bulletins I received from radio trade publications, I think the broadcasting industry initially thought it got a little more here than it did. As pro-First Amendment as this court has been, I think many industry observers thought they might take the next step and rule the FCC regulations on indecency as unconstitutional.