SNL is in fact live, the only time that i remember it being delayed was when andrew dice clay was host. unless something has changed in the past 2 years or so, it’s still live.
and as a broadcasting student, 4 year radio dj, and broadcasting law lover, anything can be played after 10pm eastern and 9pm central (10pm mountain and 9pm pacific, i think) as long as it’s not obscene (which is hard to do just talking). same goes for tv, but the obscenity is easier to accomplish. and community standards play a big part too. in any decently big city, on their classic rock station, you will hear “funky shit” from steve miller “who the fuck are you” from the who, “bull shit” from pink floyd, and countless “bitch” and "god damn"s. and you will hear them anytime of the day. the FCC has been pretty lax lately, and they don’t have the manpower to go and fine every incident of these words. and the only way they find out, is if someone complains. and very few people do.
when i listen to music to air, i generally will allow a swear word to air if it gets aired on a commercial tv station before 9pm (or 10pm eastern). you won’t hear ‘god damn’, but you will hear ‘bitch’. ‘god damn’ is still one of the biggie swear words for some reason.
closed captioning is great, especially when a chris rock comedy special is on comedy central. they’ll edit the audio track, but not the closed captioning track.
chicago hope is sort of ground breaking in ways. i remember during the first season, i think, i saw breasts on there. she was a young woman who had breast cancer, IIRC.
there’s really no special pass from the FCC. technically, TV stations can do anything they want. but if they don’t abide by the rules, they’ll get fined big time. a college radio station got fined $22,000 for playing a Kid Rock song 5 or so years ago. the fine got cut to 6,500, i think.
as far as i know, swearing by actors on SNL has only happend the three times that we’ve mentioned. musical acts, on the other hand, are a different story. there’s a good SNL fan page somewhere that has a nice detailed list of what happened and when.
BTW, what’s a Coho?