Quello: Voice of experience

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Former Federal Communications Commission member and chairman James Quello,
who headed the agency in 1993 when the networks regained the right to a
financial interest in domestic syndication, has issued a statement reaffirming
his belief in such rights and criticizing the effort by independent program
producers to secure a 25 percent set-aside in network schedules for their
programming.

"What gave my [1993] actions particular significance," Quello said, "was that
I had earlier strongly opposed granting the networks syndication rights," when
he felt that it would be "too much vertical integration power to [give to] three
dominant national program outlets."

What had changed by 1993, he said, was "the tremendous growth of cable, four
additional broadcast networks, increased large group ownership and the
multiplicity of further oncoming competing program outlets."

Now, he said, with "seven networks, more group broadcasters, hundreds of
cable channels, more oncoming satellite channels and Internet outlets ... the
independent program producers asking the government to force networks to buy 25
percent of their prime time from them is far more unjustified and untimely. ...
Today's multiplicity of program choices provides more than adequate
diversification and individual choice."

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