FCC Chief: Indecency Plan Lacking

WASHINGTON Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin today said broadcasters’ planned publicity campaign about program-blocking tools would likely fall short of what’s needed to address concerns about racy content.

Martin, responding to a question at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, said roughly 40 percent of television sets do not have the V-chip that can be set to block programs according to their content rating. Sports and news carry no rating, he noted.

Broadcasters, the cable and motion picture industries and set makers plan a $300 million campaign featuring ads that will tell parents how they can control programming on their TVs.

“I’m not sure that’s the complete answer” to concerns over indecent programming, Martin told an NAB audience. Later, with reporters, he repeated his suggestions that broadcasters offer a family-viewing hour shorn of coarse programming, and that cable operators offer channel-by-channel subscription choice or family-friendly programming tiers.

The FCC has proposed record fines for broadcast indecency in recent years, including a demand last month for $3.6 million in penalties against CBS. Broadcast networks have asked federal courts to overturn recent FCC rulings that found some words to be indecent, but did not propose fines