Powell, Ferree wave big stick on DTV

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If there was any question about the Federal Communications Commission's
intent to hold out the prospect of tougher regulations to win cooperation with
chairman Michael Powell's plan for jump-starting digital TV, Ken Ferree removed
it Friday.

Companies don't 'do themselves any favors at the commission by not being
proactive,' the new Media Bureau chief told reporters.

A number of digital-TV-related rulemakings are pending at the FCC, including
cable carriage of both analog and digital signals; whether cable systems must
carry broadcasters' multicast or interactive services; and digital-TV-tuner
requirements for new TV sets. Each has major consequences for broadcasters,
cable systems and TV-set makers.

Would the FCC draw political heat for this kind of muscle-flexing? 'I have no
concern that there will be negative impact from the public or [Capitol] Hill,'
Ferree said. 'There is a groundswell of support that this is the right way to