Cable may be hurt from the latest burst of legislative outrage over indecency if Wed’s verbiage on the Hill is an indicator. Sen John McCain (R-AZ) opened his hearing on "Protecting Children from Violent and Indecent Programming" by highlighting a letter from Corduroy Crew honcho Gene Kimmelman "urging Congress to address indecent content on cable and satellite." McCain called Kimmelman’s argument for a la carte programming to empower consumers offended by some channels "more persuasive than ever in providing parents control over their TV sets." FCC Chairman Michael Powell reiterated his call for cable and DBS to voluntarily better educate consumers on ways to avoid indecent programming. Powell’s testimony echoed a Tues letter he sent to NCTA, where he asked for a proposal within 30 days as to how cable can meet his challenge of shielding children from inappropriate programming. Robert Sachs promised to respond. Cable’s content was even scrutinized at a subcommittee session on cable competition, with Sen Judiciary chmn Orrin Hatch (R-UT) saying that "although the most recent controversy involves broadcast, some of the most offensive and indecent material comes from such large cable stations as FX and MTV." He urged broadcast and cable to clean up their content. Over at the House indecency hearing, NFL boss Paul Tagliabue and Viacom [VIA] pres/COO Mel Karmazin were punished for the MTV-produced Super Bowl half-time show by being forced to listen to lawmakers who wanted to make sure their constituents knew just how awful it was. Karmazin reminded them that if Viacom was looking for shock value it could have shown the streaker who appeared just before the 2nd half.

The Daily


At the Commission

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau reached a $23.5 million settlement with TracFone Wireless to resolve an investigation into whether it violated rules of the Commission’s Lifeline and/or Emergency Broadband Benefit programs.

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