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1/26/2003 07:00:00 PM Eastern

Decisions by Spring, Powell Says

Washington— FCC Chairman Michael Powell, appearing Friday on C-Span, said to expect a decision on any changes to the media ownership rules by "very late spring."

Responding to viewer calls, he complained of the "treadmill" of having to review the rules every two years and explained a court's ruling that the rules be jettisoned unless the FCC can prove they are needed.

On the issue of indecency, he said that he wishes the fines were more "significant" and pointed to the increases in the number of prosecutions and fines over the past few years. But he warned against a heavy hand toward regulating speech.

Hot Topics Coming From Litton, Cox

Litton Syndication will distribute a new day-and-date daily strip news show, Hot Topics,
produced by Cox Television, for launch this fall. Tim Voit, Litton's executive vice president for sales, said Hot Topics
is a younger-skewing news show that averages 36 stories per half-hour. Cox tested it as a weekly for 53 weeks at its WSB-TV Atlanta, which improved its late-night time period rating against Saturday Night Live
by 27%.

FTC Slams Weight-Loss Infomercials

The Federal Trade Commission on Friday filed suit against Slim Down Solution LLC and related companies for its D-Glucosamine weight-loss products sold in infomercials that have aired on Bravo, Comedy Central and Pax.

It also sought an injunction against any future false claims for similar products, including Fight the Fat, Everslim and Mini Max.

Asked whether the FTC would go after the media companies that carried the infomercials, Howard Beales, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said "not today." But he added that the FTC needs to better explain its fraudulent claims to media outlets.

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