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Powell Is a DBS Guy

If the cable industry is sick of being called a monopoly, it now has some
solid ammunition to combat the charge: Federal Communications Commission
chairman Michael Powell is a direct-broadcast satellite guy.

Powell appeared Friday morning on C-SPAN's Washington Journal. Host
Brian Lamb asked Powell whether he is a cable subscriber.

'I have satellite,' Powell said, without naming the brand to which he
subscribes. 'My system has almost 400 channels on it. I can't even
channel-surf.'

In a nod to cable networks, Powell said he is a 'big fan' of The Learning
Channel and Discovery Channel, which he views regularly with his two sons.

Lamb, digging deeper into Powell's video habits, discovered that the
Republican chairman owns a VCR, mostly to watch films he rents at Blockbuster
Inc.

But Powell said he doesn't own one of those fancy new digital recorders
provided by TiVo Inc. and ReplayTV Inc. 'No, not yet, I can't afford it,' he
told Lamb.

What FCC commissioners watch on TV and how they watch it became something of
an issue in 1997 when Republican commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth disclosed
that he didn't own a TV set.

Turning to politics briefly, Lamb asked Powell to address rumors that he's
interested in running for the U.S. Senate from Virginia.

'I live one day at a time, and that's not on the schedule,' Powell said,
issuing one of those classic Washington denials that routinely come from the
mouths of future candidates.