Whats ahead for telcom
By BroadCasting & Cable Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/12/2000 7:00:00 PM
...if Gore wins
Media sex and violence: Hollywood supporters persuaded the Gore campaign to drop attacks on sexually explicit and violent programming, but, safely in the White House, he will revive efforts to clamp down on "age inappropriate" marketing and programming to children.
Open access: Emboldened by the Federal Trade Commission's fight to open merged AOL-Time Warner broadband lines, the White House will fight to impose open access on the entire cable industry and interactive TV services.
Public-interest legislation: Free airtime for candidates and resurrection of political editorial rebuttal rights will be centerpieces of campaign reform.
Media diversity: The FCC will take a hard line against further weakening of broadcast-industry audience caps and cross-industry ownership restrictions.
Spectrum/DTV: Eager to burnish his role as technology czar and speed the rollout of wireless Internet and other new services, Gore will pressure TV stations to return their analog spectrum by 2006 as scheduled.
...if Bush wins
Broadcast ownership: Relaxation of the TV national-ownership cap and other ownership limits will feature prominently in FCC deregulation.
Open access: Although Republicans in general are suspicious of calls to force cable companies to open their lines to Internet competitors, leading GOP candidate for FCC chief Michael Powell is troubled by cable companies' ability to favor their content over competitors and may keep the issue alive.
Public interest: A GOP White House will favor a bare-bones approach to broadcasters' duties, ignoring calls for free airtime for candidates and new children's programming requirements for DTV.
Media diversity: Bush will try to make good on his "compassionate conservative" claim by creating tax incentives for owners that sell media businesses to minorities and women.
Spectrum/DTV: A GOP administration will be forced to broker a deal between broadcasters demanding more time for the DTV transition and lawmakers outraged by the industry's failure to offer HDTV and pushing for stations to pay for digital spectrum.
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