Tate: Still in Fact-Finding Mode

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New FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate told reporters Friday that she is still on a fact-finding mission and is not yet ready to articulate specific policy direction on issues like the broadcast flag or upcoming spectrum auctions.

Tate, who joined the commission in early January, did suggest that music industry issues--she is from Nashville--and positive programming for children would be on her radar screen.

Tate held a meet-and-greet with reporters Friday, her first with the communications press corps and a gathering promised since she declined to take reporters' questions following a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters legislative conference late last month.

Tate would not talk about her indecency philosophy, including responding to a question about its effect on the music industry whose issues she is interested in. But she did indicate she takes her indecency enforcement role very seriously. "Unlike a lot of people, I laid my hand on a Bible and I swore that I would enforce the laws of the country," Tate said. She did add that "there are ways to change those laws."

Tate has not indicated any desire for a change in the law, however. In her statement accompanying the FCC's recent proposed indecency fines, the most against TV in its history, Tate said of her first opportunity to enforce those laws that "not only is this the law, but it also is the right thing to do," adding that she had received "hundreds of personal e-mails from people all over this country who are unhappy with the content to which they--and, in particular, their families--are subjected."

Tate Friday instead emphasized her desire to promote positive and educational programing for kids.

She also said that, post Katrina, she thought it was important to think more broadly about interoperability of communications in the next emergency, citing for example a bird flu pandemic or an attack on water supplies.

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