With the annual Federal Communications Bar Association Chairman’s roast just around the corner (Dec. 5, in fact), the frustrated comedy writer in me has always wanted to try my hand at some of the zingers that fly between the sitting FCC chairman and the industry he regulates during the annual, or in this case biannual event (there was also a dinner in April).
Rarely has there been quite the rift between a chairman and one industry sector, in this case the cable industry.
So, here goes–with a little help from a colleague. Please supply your own "ba-da-bum. pish!" drum-and-cymbol riffs in the appropriate places.
Chairman: I got what I thought was a holiday card from my friends over at the NCTA–Hallmark, by the way. Turns out it was a condolence card. I thought it was a mistake until I noticed the white powdery substance inside the envelope.
And there is no truth to the rumor that, to force cable programmers to the table, I have proposed baseball-style waterboarding.
And speaking of torture, I just came from a hearing before the House Energy & Commerce Committee Meeting….
I understand NCTA is lobbying to change the name of one holiday song to "Carol of the Preferentially Treated Telco Giants"
I had a lot of cable jokes planned for tonight …. but I had to throw them away after people found out I got my material from Warren Communications.
Commissioners Copps and Adelstein thought the jokes were quite funny. I had to give them an advance copy just to prove that I don’t suppress vital information.
And a cable industry executive’s possible retort:
Cable Exec. When our industry first heard about Chairman Martin’s DTV carriage item, [NCTA President] Kyle [McSlarrow] was all for the duel proposal….. Kyle had already picked pistols at 10 paces.
We understand the chairman is going to have to deliver his speech extemporaneously….. He had a draft but it was suppressed by [fill in the blank].
We were reading about Chairman Martin’s newspaper/broadcast crossownership proposal in the op-ed section of the Times the other day…. We were forced to. We only wanted the sports section but they made us buy the whole paper.
We want to thank all of you for coming and for sticking around all day. I know the invitation said 6 a.m., but we just wanted to make sure we gave the chairman enough lead time.
By John Eggerton
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.