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@ CES: FCC’s Martin: No Resignation Plans; Opposes DTV Date Change, Broadband Content Regulation

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imageI’m not sure who they all are but a surprising number of people have opted to spend an hour of a pretty nice Las Vegas day in a dark meeting room listening to outgoing FCC Chairman Kevin Martin in his last CES heading the commission. If they were hoping for a sign from Martin about his plans, no such luck. Although he fully expects to be replaced as chairman, Martin is not ready to leave the FCC — or not ready to say so, at least. Martin told CEA head Gary Shapiro: “My term’s not up until 2011 and I don’t have any plans to announce. I don’t have anything to go do yet.”

DTV transition: Shapiro archly asked Martin if the Obama team’s request that the Feb. 17 transition date be changed “is change you can believe in.” The actual date was chosen by Congress and, as Martin pointed out quickly and often, Congress can change the date but he doesn’t think the target should move. “Ultimately, this is Congress’s decision. I completely think we need to do something about the computer box coupon program and we need to move quickly.” But he contends that actually changing the date “will create even more consumer confusion” as well as causing problems for broadcasters who are ready to move and hampering would-be new users of the spectrum space that is supposed to be freed up by the switch.

Content regulations: Martin: “I don’t have a problem with the steps we’ve taken to enforce decency.” He doesn’t want to see violence or smoking either during family TV hours: “I would be uncomfortable if Big Bird started lighting up cigarettes and smoking in front of kids.” But Martin draws the line at regulating internet content. “Internet content is not as easily accessible to children. … I don’t think you regulate the broadband pipes at all — but content you push out as opposed to content you choose to select and pull down.”

3 Responses to “@ CES: FCC’s Martin: No Resignation Plans; Opposes DTV Date Change, Broadband Content Regulation”

  1. Paul, you are absolutely right. Those small, locally-owned broadcasters shoiuld have gone down fighting, just like the newspapers, and give the pleasure of turning off the transmitter and putting up the closed sign to the local owners.

    Then everyone could then gather on their government-subsidized (think USF and RUS) broadband connection and complain.

  2. Somebody please inform him that he's out of there. What a sorry job he did during his tenure anyway…CCC, Cumulus and the big boy corporate monopolies ruled his every move…letting local content and ownership of the airwaves be snatched from smaller locally owned broadcasters who were concerned more about the health and information dissimenated within their communities than the bottom line only mantras and concerns of today's media moguls. The Federal Communications Commision should re-do the Clinton administration deregulation debacle of '96.