Jim Spagg

James Spaggnola (July 29, 1939 – May 8, 2004), known as Jim Spagg, was an American artist and host of a controversial Public-access television cable TV program in Portland, Oregon, United States from 1991[1] to 2003.

Spagg was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and attended Catholic school.[2]

Public-access television programEdit

In the early 1990s, Spagg attracted local and national media attention with Jim Spagg's Sex Show, a call-in cable TV program that contained uncensored nudity. Spagg, a nudist, produced and directed the program and frequently appeared without clothing. The show was mostly improvised, and often consisted of little more than Spagg dancing nude while playing a guitar and singing. The show sometimes included nude guests, and often contained footage filmed at Rooster Rock State Park, a clothing-optional public beach near Portland. Several episodes focused on Spagg's petty feuds with his neighbor Ed DeKota.

Spagg's premises were[2]

  1. Nudity is not dirty; and
  2. People are too busy and too serious.

Spagg denied that his program was lewd, claiming that "I am an artist and I'm expressing myself through video."[3]

Spagg also swore throughout and showed himself defecating.[4]

In May 2003, after nearly 11 years on the air, Jim Spagg's Sex Show was removed by Portland Cable Access after Spagg defecated live on the show. He was suspended for a year, the official reason given was broadcasting copyrighted material, violating the Public-access channel's broadcast standards. The copyrighted material in question was a series of clips filmed by PCA itself with on the street testimony about PCA.

"He simply took property and used it as his own, against our rules and federal law," says Carl Kucharski, PCA's executive director.[5]

Public reaction and media attentionEdit

The Portland area public often found Spagg's Public-access show while flipping through cable TV channels. His show elicited complaints from viewers, particularly those with children, who were upset that his program ran during the day. Despite public outcry to remove his program from Portland Cable Access, it was not possible due to freedom of speech protection for public-access programming. Spagg frequently defended his program as art, and appeared on KATU's Town Hall program where he defended his right to appear nude on television as freedom of speech. He was also featured on the national television news show A Current Affair.[citation needed]

Jim Spagg died of leukemia on May 8, 2004 at the age of 64 in Portland. At the time he was running for mayor of the city. He received several hundred votes.[6]


  1. ^ "Nudity takes cable show off air". Bend Bulletin. Portland. Associated Press. 22 November 1991. p. B-2.
  2. ^ a b "About Me". Jim Spagg. January 24, 2003. Archived from the original on August 19, 2011. Retrieved 2010-10-18. He had begun his Catholic education at the age of 11 at a school named Saint Agnes, then he went to Immaculate Conception, and then to high school at Holy Name High School.
  3. ^ "Jim Spagg on Portland's "Town Hall" pt. 2". KATU Town Hall. YouTube. Retrieved 2011-05-24.
  4. ^ Kathleen Kreller (28 February 1995). "Lawmaker fighting offensive programs on public-access TV". Eugence Register-Guard. Associated Press.
  5. ^ Lauren Dake (May 21, 2003). "Nude, Lewd--and Screwed: Cable TV "naked guy" booted off the air". Willamette Week. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  6. ^ "Mayor's race, turnout offer some surprises". Portland Tribune. 25 May 2004.

External linksEdit