The Buzz

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The Buzz is all for redefining whenever and wherever it is needed, so we recently caught up with the Federal Communications Commission's chief of policy development Robert Pepper to hear his wonkish-sounding presentation, "Redefining TV in the Digital Age." Pepper discussed the furor surrounding proposed changes to the media-ownership rules, saying that two-thirds of the complaints received by the FCC were from members of the National Rifle Association who essentially were upset by liberal media in general. But left-wing organizations such as, aren't shy about expressing their opinions, either.

While Pepper believes caps should be raised in a world where cable systems and the Internet can reach many more consumers than a single station group, he did have some harsh words for broadcast networks. Pepper, speaking to media academics at an IRTS Foundation event, extolled the virtues of VOIP to WIFI, "This is the world the broadcast networks will be facing, and they have no idea." Pepper commented that network broadcasters are "very reluctantly" getting into the digital world, while cable companies spent $85 billion upgrading their systems to allow broadband to blossom. "The $50 billion to $60 billion incumbent industry is in slow decline," he says.

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