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Powell pushing media regulation

Reexamining the country's media regulation is one of the FCC's top five priorities, agency chairman Michael Powell told reporters Tuesday.

Today's rules were created for "television and radio as they existed in their golden age," and don't take in account that most Americans now pay for their television rather than rely on free broadcasts from local stations, Powell said. Nor does the initial aim of the rules, to maximize the number of broadcast owners in a market, seem to carry much import with audiences more interested in diverse types of programming, he said.

An added duty is ensuring that the telecommunications industry is prepared to play its part in domestic security. In the wake of the broadcast outages resulting from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, he suggested establishment of an intra-industry group that would improve the vulnerability of the broadcast infrastructure to attacks and disasters.

The group would operate akin to the telecommunications' industry's Network Reliability and Interoperability Council. The FCC's other priorities are broadband deployment, ensuring competition and revamping spectrum policies. - Bill McConnell