The Supreme Court ruled that the FCC can indeed fine broadcasters for airing expletives on television:
The Supreme Court ruled narrowly Tuesday in favor of a government policy that threatens broadcasters with fines over the use of even a single curse word on live television, yet stopped short of deciding whether the policy violates the Constitution.
In six separate opinions totalling 69 pages, the justices signaled serious concerns about the constitutionality of the Federal Communications Commission’s “fleeting expletives” policy, but called on a federal appeals court to weigh whether it violates First Amendment guarantees of free speech.
The court punted on the free speech issue, though that would seem to be the heart of the matter. Linguistically, “bad word” are interesting, since they have a function that goes beyond their literal meaning, a “phatic” dimension in which a word in itself is an act of aggression or abuse.