Lots of empty tables but still a healthy early-morning crowd to listen to NAB Chairman Bruce Reese, president and CEO, Bonneville International Corp., interview FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. A couple of topics:
Satellite radio: “Even paranoids have real enemies,” Reese said as he started a question about XM and Sirius encroaching on local radio and local ad dollars. Martin said he thought the FCC would follow the same policy as it did when allowing the sat radio services to use terrestrial repeaters — envisioning it as a nationalized service. “I think satellite radio provides a very important service … it’s growing rapidly … the service is fundamentally different than what free over-the-air broadcasters provide.” He elaborated during an impromptu press conference, explaining that the difference would be if satellite radio tried to deliver content locally instead of the current service that provides some localized information through the national service.
Indecency: Martin said he knew the broadcasters were promoting use of the Vchip but that he didn’t think that was a complete solution since a significant number of users don’t have access to enabled sets and that the chip doesn’t help when shows are live or unrated. He also said he’s not sure what people are looking for when they ask for additional guidance about language — it hasn’t really changed since the late 70s and George Carlin’s famous monologue about the seven words you can’t say on TV. (The Supreme Court decision he referenced can be found here. Carlin’s material is near the end.) Reese replied it’s frightening that the hippy dippy weatherman is still making policy.
The NAB coverage is sponsored by Javien.