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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Bill Kennard, following a closed-door roundtable of industry leaders last week, said "There was a lot of enthusiasm for taking [the discussion of minority media] to the next step."

Held after a larger luncheon session sponsored by the American Advertising Federation, as many as 75 representatives of minority media, government, ad agencies and marketers gathered for the roundtable.

"It is an important first step, and the next step is for them to work internally with some of the principles we have put on the table, to take this to the highest levels of the advertisers and the agencies," Mr. Kennard said.


Mr. Kennard was joined by Vice President Al Gore-via satellite hookup-at the event, to bring the weight of the bully pulpit to the question of whether minority media get a fair amount of U.S. ad dollars.

The vice president formally announced a new government interagency working group formed to look at advertising issues as well as a General Accounting Office study of the government's use of minority agencies and media (AA, Feb. 22).

Mr. Kennard and AAF President-CEO Wally Snyder said this start of a dialogue could lead to major industry change.

While criticisms cited had been heard before, the open discussion was "specific to the ultimate questions and [something] that we can work on in terms of answering for clients," Mr. Snyder said.

Others were less convinced about results of the AAF event, with U.S. Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D., Mich.) stating she was disappointed no corporate chief executives attended.

"There was progress, but it could have been better," she said, adding that she will continue to work with the AAF.


Sam Chisholm, president-CEO of agency Chisholm/Mingo Group, New York, was upset about the comments of one participant at the closed-door meeting.

"There was a woman from [Walt] Disney [Co.] who said she didn't know the value of what we do," Mr. Chisholm claimed. "She basically said she didn't see the difference and the value of targeted marketing. It's very disappointing, particularly after all that we have done, when you do not have a sense that African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics are different.

"We have spent years educating people, and still have to educate people," he added.

Reporters were not allowed in the discussion, and the name of the Disney executive could not be learned.

But marketer executives were more upbeat.

"Dialogues like this are always helpful, but very little substantive comes out of one-shot events," said Bob Wehling, senior VP-global marketing, at Procter & Gamble Co. "The question is the degree that AAF can take the lead in continuing a dialogue," he said.

Commissioner Mozelle W. Thompson of the Federal Trade Commission, who headed one discussion, said he was hopeful a continuing dialogue would "lead to a more sophisticated review of minority markets, and how to sell to them. . . . The

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