`Wasteland' revisited

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The latest issue of the Federal Communications Law Journal features a host of
scholars, lawyers, activists and others revisiting then-Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton
Minow's 1961 "Vast Wasteland" speech to the National Association of
Broadcasters.

The roster includes Minow himself, who said that if anything, the wasteland is even
vaster than before.

Also weighing in are current FCC commissioners Michael Copps, Kathleen
Abernathy and Kevin Martin, although nothing from chairman Michael Powell or
commissioner Jonathan Adelstein.

Copps used the opportunity to recoin the term as "consolidated media
wasteland" and outline his concerns over further ownership deregulation.

Abernathy, by contrast, said she does not feel that it is her place, as a
commissioner, to make "value judgments on the content of broadcasts." She
concluded instead that it is "in the hands of Congress, the media and the public to
lead us on the path from a vast wasteland to a fertile plain."

Martin, meanwhile, took the opportunity to push for his family viewing hour
and family-friendly cable and satellite programming packages.

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