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Capital Watch

EEO OK, Must-Carry a Must

The NAB said last week it was not going to challenge the FCC's new EEO rules in court. The NAB board, meeting in La Quinta, Calif., said it will urge and help its members to comply with the rules, which are aimed at boosting employment of minorities in the industry. It also said it would work with the FCC on the "special compliance problems of small-market broadcasters."

The TV board reaffirmed its position on digital must-carry, which calls for cable operators to carry all free services that stations broadcast over their digital TV channels ("All bits must flow," in an NAB phrase). However, NAB President Fritts said he and individual NAB members will continue to meet with their counterparts in the cable industry in an effort to reach a private must-carry settlement as suggested by FCC Chairman Michael Powell.

Broadcasters and cable operators had their first meeting in New York City on Dec. 12. Fritts said he will contact National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Robert Sachs to set up a second meeting in the next month or so.

The NCTA, cable's principal lobby, argues that it should not have to carry any part of the DTV signal until broadcasters turn off their analog channels. By law, cable operators must carry the analog signals of any local broadcaster who asks.

Schieffer Saluted

Bob Schieffer has been named the 2003 recipient of the Radio-Television News Directors Association's Paul White award. The CBS Face the Nation
anchor and moderator, and a recent inductee into BROADCASTING & CABLE's Hall of Fame, will be honored at a dinner April 7 at the combined RTNDA/NAB convention. "Bob Schieffer has illuminated the most important stories of our time with fairness, insight and a touch of humor," said RTNDA President Barbara Cochran in announcing the selection. Schieffer has covered Washington for more than 30 years, including the four principal beats: White House, State Department, Congress and Pentagon. He has been CBS's chief Washington correspondent since 1982. The award, named after CBS's first news director, honors a "lifetime contribution to electronic journalism." "I am surprised, stunned, humbled and honored," said Schieffer.

Dingell Taps Rothschild

Gregg Rothschild, telcom aide to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), is moving to the other side of Capitol Hill to become chief telecommunications and media adviser to Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the Energy and Commerce Committee's top Democrat. Rothschild replaces Andrew Levin, who was named Clear Channel's Washington lobbyist in November. Rothschild begins his new job Jan. 21.

Frist Picks Starz VP

Paul Jacobson, VP of corporate communications for Starz Encore Group, Denver, has been named deputy communications director for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). Jacobson joined Starz in 1998 from Denver-based Ascent Entertainment Group, but he is a veteran D.C. communications type. Before his move out to the mountains, Jacobson was deputy press secretary to another Republican Majority Leader, Bob Dole, and press secretary to Sen. Warren Rudman (R-N.H.). Starz Encore's Marc McCarthy will be interim head of corporate communications until a replacement is found, although McCarthy is a likely candidate for the full-time post as well.

Candidate Lieberman slams media

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, former VP candidate and frequent media scold, took the occasion of his declaration as 2004 Democratic presidential candidate to target the media again. Speaking at Stanford University, he renewed his attack on sex and violence in the media. "As a father ... I have taken on the entertainment industry for peddling violence and sex to our children," he said. "I've spoken up for parents who feel they're in competition with the popular culture to raise their children and give them the right values."