Skip to main content

Industry groups lukewarm on TV decency summit

The leading broadcast- and cable-industry trade groups weren’t exactly
bubbling over with enthusiasm over a Federal Communications Commission member’s suggestion Wednesday
that they jointly devise some voluntary guidelines that would make television
programming more "family-friendly."

During a hearing on broadcasters’ public-interest obligations, commissioner
Michael Copps suggested that National Association of Broadcasters presdient
Eddie Fritts and his National Cable & Telecommunications Association
counterpart Robert Sachs host an industry summit that could encompass such
topics as creation of a new family hour or resurrection of the NAB code of

Sachs said the NCTA would be "happy to participate in dialogue" but noted that
the cable industry, which does not face the type of indecency restrictions
broadcasters face, is already making ways to protect kids from objectionable

"We agree with commissioner Copps that not all programming is appropriate for
all audiences and, for this very reason, cable networks include TV-ratings
information with their programming and cable operators provide consumers with
technology to block unwanted programs or channels," Sachs said.

NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton, despite criticism from Parents Television
Council president Brent Bozell about raunch on TV and radio, insisted that local
stations’ programming is far less racier than what’s on cable.

"Rarely do stations show uncut Hollywood movies, or shows like Oz and
Sex and the City," he said.