It looks like the Super Bowl halftime show will definitely be in the spotlight during Wednesday’s House Telecommunications Subcommittee Hearing.
Viacom Inc. president Mel Karmazin and National Football League commissioner Paul Tagliabue are scheduled to testify, as are all of the Federal Communications Commission members.
The commissioners’ first stop will be an indecency hearing scheduled for the same time by the Senate Commerce Committee. Although it was billed as an examination of whether current regulation of broadcast indecency is sufficient, the Senate committee, chaired by John McCain (R-Ariz.), is said also to be interested in finding out what, if anything, can be done about cable indecency.
Because subscribers must pay to get the service, cable has historically been free of the indecency regulations that circumscribe broadcast speech.
There has been an increasing call from various regulators, congressmen and even some broadcasters to try to crack down on cable and satellite speech given that the majority of homes now view their TV, whether cable channel or broadcast retransmission, via a subscription service.