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Copps Gets Minow Award

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps again promised not to leave his push for a more diverse, more substantive and less concentrated media as he exits the commission by the end of the year.

That came in his acceptance speech of the Newton Minow Award at the Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

Copps has been the FCC's most consistent critics of media consolidation and among its most enthusiastic rooters for diversity and localism.

He praised Minow, best known for his Vast Wasteland speech to broadcasters as chairman of the FCC under JFK, for having the courage, "strength of message" and character to deliver marching orders to the "captains of industry" to pay their debt in service to the people whose airwaves they got to use.

He also praised Parker, who as head of the United Church of Christ's Office of Communication fought for civil rights and helped establish that community groups and citizens had standing to challenge license renewals.

"When I became a Commissioner more than a decade ago, these were the visions and dreams I wanted to help realize," Copps said in his acceptance speech. "There were-there are-those who have disagreed with me, sometimes more than occasionally, but I hope no one ever doubted my desire to make our media as transformative as Everett Parker and Newt Minow knew it could be."

But while he used "doubted" in the past tense, his passion remains very much in the present. "When I take my leave of the FCC later this year, I am not leaving these issues," he said. "I could never do that!"