FCC'S HUNDT EXHORTS BROADCASTERS

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CHICAGO-Federal Communications Commission Chairman Reed Hundt urged broadcasters last Friday to voluntarily step up their efforts for improving children's TV and broadcaster public interest obligations, before the government does it for them.

Speaking at the Museum of Broadcast Communications here, Mr. Hundt said he'd like to see broadcasters outline how they intend "to give parents a choice of high-quality, decent, non-violent and educational programming."

He also said that advertisers are integrally involved in broadcast reform and should pro-actively become part of the solution.

Although the telecommunications reform bill still needs to be reconciled between the House and Senate, the House on Aug. 4 approved a resolution that mandates TV sets with violence-blocking chips and encourages the networks to rate their programs for violence and sex.

"Broadcasters cannot be merely commercial exploiters of the airwaves," Mr. Hundt said. "They must be guardians of the public trust, using the public property ..... to improve the country."

Industry comments regarding the distribution of digital spectrum are due Oct. 18. "It's a fateful chance to lay out the public interest commitment broadcasters are prepared to make to the communities they propose to serve in the digital age," Mr. Hundt said.

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