JESSELL AT LARGE (UPDATED)

Hundt Comes Clean: Internet Trumps TV

Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt gave a speech at Columbia University in which he candidly talks about his decision to promote the Internet over broadcasting as the one and only "common medium" for the United States while he was chairman of the FCC between 1994 and 1997. And he said the FCC National Broadband Plan to be released next week will be the clumination of that policy and the beginning of the end of the broadcasting era.

If you are in the broadcasting business, particularly as a station owner or top manager, you must set aside an hour today and click on this link. [Editor’s note: After this column was posted last Friday morning (March 12), the video on the Columbia University website became difficult to access and, as of March 16, it is no longer available on the site. This column was updated on March 14 to include additional comments by Hundt that appear in boldface below.]

You will see and hear Reed Hundt give a speech at Columbia University in which he candidly talks about his decision to promote the Internet over broadcasting as the one and only “common medium” for the United States while he was chairman of the FCC between 1994 and 1997, and how his work then will culminate next week when the current FCC under his protégé Julius Genachowski unveils the National Broadband Plan.

“The broadband plan that will be published on March 17 actually will reflect … the end of the era of trying to maintain over-the-air broadcast as the common medium and the beginning of a very detailed, quite substantive, commitment to having broadband, the son of narrowband, be the common medium,” Hundt said in the speech that he describes as a “confession or admission.”

Among other things, he said, the “broadband plan will have in it a specific pathway to shrinking the amount of spectrum that broadcast will be able to use. In all previous eras, the government has expanded the spectrum for broadcast so as to give it a chance to thrive as it moved from analog to digital. Now, it’s going to be moving in reverse.”

Hundt said that his decision to favor broadband over broadcast was made in 1994, when his first days as FCC chairman coincided with the introduction of the Mosaic browser and the emergence of the Internet as a commercial medium.

“We decided … that the Internet ought to be the common medium in the United States and that broadcast should not be,” he says. The “we” includes Blair Levin — who is the principal author of the National Broadband Plan and who was Hundt’s chief of staff — as well as Genachowski, who was a top aide and thinker.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Hundt said the decision was made even though TV broadcasting had ably served the country as the common medium since the year he was born, 1948.

And then he gave several reasons why.

The Internet was “going to be the pathway for the global promulgation of American values and American technology, he said. “A nation that doesn’t believe … that its values are values that ought to be shared and sold, if you will, to other countries, that’s not the United States.

“Second, [the Internet] was fundamentally a richer medium — text and pictures — and that therefore it was going to be an easier and better way for people to have access to information. …”

He also believed the Internet was “certain to be diverse in every conceivable respect and not by dint of regulation — diverse, meaning it would be in every language and every race would be welcome and the content would be … generated by people who … would choose any points of view; and any kind of ownership of the content would be admissible and any form of the content would be possible.”

His embrace of the Internet was also prompted by “an anti-elite impulse.” At its heart, he said, the Internet is a “disintermediating medium as oppose to broadcast that created intermediaries.”

Hundt ran off several ways his FCC promoted the Internet in his day, chief among them the policy of allowing computers to connect to the Internet through telephone lines without incurring extra costs.

“In other words, we stole the value from the telephone network and gave it to … society. When I say we stole it, it was a government rule that produced this outcome.”

At the same time, he said, the FCC tried to suppress broadcasting. “This is a little naughty: We delayed the transition to HDTV and fought a big battle against the whole idea.”

He said he found it “simply astonishing” that the government continued to promote broadcasting by helping it through the last leg of the transition from analog to digital last year by subsidizing converter boxes for consumers. “Those people would have been much better off getting a voucher for broadband Internet subscriptions.”

Hundt also predicts the demise of must carry, which he sees as another “astonishing” pro-broadcasting regulatory artifact, possibly by a ruling of of the Supreme Court.

Hundt said identifying and encouraging a particular medium as the common one was unprecedented in American history. “It has actually been an essential characteristic of media in the United States that we have never had a plan and we have felt that that was in the nature of our democracy and our capitalism to not have a plan.

“It’s kind of interesting to think that we are now imitating China in this particular respect.”

As a service to you, I have pulled out what I felt were Hundt’s salient points from this extraordinary speech, but, again, I encourage you to check out the video. If you want to preserve broadcasting, you have to know what the other guys are thinking. I don’t believe you’ll ever get a better opportunity. While he was chairman, he said, he was afraid to publicly admit the pro-Internet bias of his policies.

Hundt made one particularly disturbing comment in explaining his preference for the Internet. “We also thought the Internet would fundamentally be pro-democracy and that broadcast had become a threat to democracy,” he said without elaboration and without anybody in the room challenging him. I’d like to hear more on that.

According to Hundt, you cannot stop a government from choosing a common medium to be the dominant one for the nation. “It’s going to [choose], because government in any country wants a way to reach everybody. It will encourage it and promote it up to some level.”

I reject that. This is America. We can have two of everything. The question was once put to me: what would you rather have, the best broadcasting system in the world or the best broadband system. My answer: both.

Harry A. Jessell is editor of TVNewsCheck.You may contact him at 973-701-1067 or [email protected]


Comments (56)

Leave a Reply

Elaine Scharfenberg says:

March 12, 2010 at 11:50 am

Broadcasters should be outraged and vocal. 1994 was years before we were mandared to start digital broadcasting. Why the hoax? Why the endless testing, channel assigment paperwork, the huge coists. Was it just a way to bankrupt us all?

Why did they do this when the intent was to put us out of buisness? The transistion is done, and we now deserve and should demand the right to make this business succeed or fail on its own and not by Goverment decree. Wanna put something out of business? Go do it to Tobacco or a hundred other things that actually harm citizens.

linda barnhill says:

March 12, 2010 at 11:57 am

Now Genachowski should come clean. More proof the Government is behind Google. Government control of information and entertainment; sound familiar.

    Stephanie Harrison says:

    March 13, 2010 at 5:54 am

    Nobody has repprted about how Genacowski gave a speech a couple weeks ago to the “New America Foundation” and how this group has been a big proponent for reclaiming broadcast spectrum ( visit their site and look at their publications). This is when Genacowski first mentioned about the “voluntary” broadcast spectrum grab for auctions.
    Guess who was one of the biggest donors to NAF in 2008? “Mr and Mrs. Eric Schmidt”, CEO of Google and donater of more than $1 million ( you can see this on the site too.).
    These guys and forces at the FCC need to be exposed….

Bill Greep says:

March 12, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Thank you for this story and link Harry… unbelievable !

Brett Zongker says:

March 12, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Duh. Reed Hundt anti-broadcasting? Who knew?

matt fess says:

March 12, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Unbelievable. It has become so clear that in virtually every government run department where having lawyers as the primary leaders in these groups has led to being completely out of touch with reality. Lawyers simply do not understand the common man or woman. It is clear that Hundt and his cronies were and still are out of touch with the people. Local broadcasting is the ONLY real connection communities have. It is the common thread and if broadcasters continue to focus on serving in the local public interest, it will be the ONLY connection for decades to come. Hundt needs to go away.

Jose Lorenzo says:

March 12, 2010 at 12:15 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with Harry. There’s absolutely no reason that this should come down to one or the other. Broadband and Broadcasting can and do complement one another. Mr. Hundt is wrong to see this as an “either-or” proposition.

    Peter Grewar says:

    March 12, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Broadband and broadcasting definitely can complement each other. Broadcasting is great for the mass appeal stuff, and for breaking news, whereas broadband is better for serving narrower interests and/or audiences where immediacy doesn’t matter so much.

stephen clare says:

March 12, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Ladies & Gentlemen:

We all have a say in how this goes.
It’s called VOTING and constantly voicing your opinions
and desires to your specific congressman.
These dudes get into office by elected officials.

Un-elect them.

Just talking to others doesn’t cut it,
won’t get the job done
and will cause the demise of broadcast as we know it.

The NAB stopped representing broadcast in congress years ago.

In every country where there has been forced changes in the government,
the FIRST thing they go after are the broadcast stations as these are the
ties to the public and if one controls the broadcasting, then you control the
public and one can dictate to that public with controlled news and information.
It is hard to control a wireless broadcast transmission to a $9 radio or tv.

There would be huge outcries in this country if there were an out and out takeover of all
broadcasting. But if one just chips away at it and offers up something that is promoted
as better and cheaper or FREE for you, then the public will go along with it without thinking of
what is really going on.

The internet and cable and satellite are controlled systems and can be monitored and shutdown
by any government anywhere in the world. Just look at China. If someone in power does not
like what you are saying, then they would have the ability to block the content and just make
the public lock step with them.

It is up to us as to what WE want to do,
or it was once.

Best Regards
Steven Brant
Director of Engineering
CBS/FOX Jacksonville, FL.
904.996.0450
[email protected]

    Binky Bob says:

    March 12, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    While I may differ with you in regards to the NAB remark, Steven, I think you have some very good points above and sincerely hope that we’re able to throw these bums out of office and out of the FCC otherwise.

kari hamon says:

March 12, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Steven Brant is dead on. We can complain to each other, but without a loud voice to elected officials we are going down. It’s time to take back America or risk living in a newly created Socialist regime. Bye Bye Broadcasters.

cortney baker says:

March 12, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I have seen this coming. The government wants control of EVERYTHING we read and watch. Please contact your representatives TODAY and start raising some hell. I just called mine.

Tammy Tankersley says:

March 12, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I am trying to watch the speech. My guess is that the relatively modest demand to view this video generated by this article has overloaded the server tasked with sharing it. It will not play. This internet failure demonstrates again the key reason we need multiple means to distribute information of national importance, especially when it needs to be distributed instantly to the citizens of the US.

Dave Fehling says:

March 12, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Just TRY to take a look at the referenced columbia.edu link… A perfect illustration of why the internet is not Broadcasting, their available bandwidth and servers are overwhelmed with at best a thousand or so simultaneous viewers attempting to watch a Flash video. The WEB is a narrow casting medium.

Steve Geiger says:

March 12, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Everyone connected with free, over-the-air broadcasting must submit their opposition to Mr. Hundt’s madness immediately to their Congressional representatives. That’s the only way to nip this is the bud. Do not wait for your trade associations to compose their objections. An immediate roar of disapproval is warranted. Act now!

Lisa Collins says:

March 12, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Maybe I should have choosen a different name….

Candis Terry says:

March 12, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Hey, try this for fun. Just substitute “Putin” for “Hundt” and see how the government plan he describes sounds. For example: “We thought that broadcast had become a threat to democracy,” Oh, wait. Maybe Putin did say that, just before he demolished the broadcasting sector. Interestingly, Russia hasn’t bothered to censor the Internet because they have been so effective with disinformation.

Julie Hirschfeld Davis & David Espo says:

March 12, 2010 at 2:22 pm

As deceitful, duplicitous and guileful an admission as I have ever seen. It borders on the criminal. And now Genachowski, Levin and Benjamin are the devil’s henchmen. They should all be hauled up to the Hill and grilled about their real agenda. Grounds for removal from office.

linda barnhill says:

March 12, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Every TV and Radio Station should turn off their website. No more “Free” broadband content.

stephen clare says:

March 12, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Then its up to you to remove them!!!
It is supposed to be your country, take control and vote them out.
Flood them with calls, paper work and emails. Tell them what you want.
Don’t stop. Demand accountability.
Do not let them disappear behind the curtain.
If this happens, then it happens because you want it to happen.
Steven.

    m f says:

    March 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Maybe politicians don’t matter much anymore — it is the high level unelected government bureaucrats and their friends that are running the show — and those can’t be voted out of office.

Matthew Castonguay says:

March 12, 2010 at 3:16 pm

He’s full of sh*t as far as the scope of the vision he claims to have had for the internet in 1994. Makes Al Gore sound modest. I do believe he’s probably always hated broadcasters though.

Matthew Castonguay says:

March 12, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Also, I think what does need to be explored by the press and Congress…and us peeps…is his candid admission of having a very detailed, and hidden, agenda the whole time he was operating….especially given that his proteges are now all in charge and pretty obviously are doing the same thing.

stephen clare says:

March 12, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Oh please.. These may not be politicans, however, they derive their power and authority from our Congress which we place into office. The attitude of “they are unelected government bureaucrats” is one of defeat and complacency. That means you have given up and do not believe you can do anything about it. What is done is done and I must conform. Which is exactly why this can happen.

If you remove the source of the authority which controls the funding you have removed all the rest. They may not be voted out of office but they can be fired or layed off when the funds go dry. Further, Congress sets the tone, direction and funding for the FCC. Talk it over with them. The banking and insurance industry live with congress folks, and look what it got them. When they got into trouble, they got bailouts, billions of $, pats on the back and open season on consumers.
Did they get shutdown??? No, they get bonus pay.

lin free says:

March 12, 2010 at 3:36 pm

For those involved in establishing DTV, there is no surprise in this revelation. For those of you who are new to this, be sure to see Dennis Wharton’s comment as sarcasm.
When Reed Hundt took office in 1994, the FCC Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service (ACATS) had been in business 7 years, the Digital HDTV Grand Alliance (GA) had been formed, a system proposal had been achieved and approved by ACATS, and the GA was building the prototype for testing by ACATS, en route to a final standards recommendation. We were 80% of the way to a standard.
Whereas previous chairmen had been important supporters of the process, Hundt introduced substantial uncertainty. It was agonizing. ACATS completed its work in November 1995, making its final report to the FCC. We expected the standard to be set in early 1996. Hundt, influenced by the computer industry, delayed action. Later in the year, the GA met with him in his office. I was there along with a number of GA members. He was supported by a couple of toadies. He was unctuous and duplicitous. My post meeting summary: He told us, “I’m not your problem, I never was your problem, and if you think I’m your problem, you’ve got a problem!” He was, of course, the problem, and it was a disgusting performance.
His stalling was eventually overcome by the other commissioners, led by Susan Ness, and the standard was adopted December 24, 1996, almost a year late. Merry Christmas! I’ll always remember the comment of a colleague, Robert Graves, “My joy is tempered by the feeling that I’ve just escaped from a hostage situation!”
Broadcasters, ACATS, and the GA pioneered digital television, HDTV, and progressive scanning. Not just in the U.S., but in the world. Reed Hundt did his best to block these sterling contributions. Thank God he did not succeed.

    Phyllis Marden says:

    March 15, 2010 at 9:54 am

    There is a great book that chronicles the history of the ATSC broadcast standard, “Defining Vision” by Joel Brinkley. It’s a very interesting read. Mr. Rast, what an honor to “meet” you!

      Kathryn Miller says:

      March 15, 2010 at 12:58 pm

      defining vision — particularly the first half — is rife with errors.

Tamara Logan says:

March 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm

A few weeks ago, the NAB gathered 400 broadcasters to speak to Members of Congress about issues concerning broadcasters. The two main issues were 1) Defeating the Performance Tax and 2) Preserving TV Spectrum. In the meetings I attended, no Congressman believed this spectrum grab would really happen. But after some discussion, a thought often occurred to them: “The FCC has the power to make this happen without Congressional approval”.

Our service to our communities is pervasive. But to many in DC, it’s explainable by self promotion. Did you raise thousands for a children’s hospital? That’s just to make your station look good. Investigative reporting: you make money from sponsors don’t you? Our community service is discounted by ascribing the most cynical of motives to our public service effort.

A regulatory agency that chooses to move spectrum from a free media model to a paid-for, cash based model is not choosing to provide service to the most vulnerable among us. All other issues aside, Americans must have the option to access local broadcasting without an intermediary between our studios and our communities.

loretta mahoney says:

March 12, 2010 at 4:23 pm

The Internet is a delivery system just like broadcasting is a delivery system. It’s what is “delivered” that makes it important or not. Hyper-local news and information is what will keep broadcasting in the minds and hearts of the people. But there must be something other than the “facts”. There must be “perspective” as well. Example: Years ago we all had to watch the 6pm news to see the weather forecast. Now it’s available on my computer and my iPhone. Plus I can see weather radar right on my iPhone. I don’t need my local radio or TV station for that anymore. I do need my local TV weather guy to tell me that the hook echo on his Doppler radar indicates that a tornado is forming. That’s perspective. Just looking at the radar on my TV set, computer or iPhone doesn’t give me any perspective other than what I can see.

    Sharon Evans says:

    March 12, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I am interested in the exchange of this forum…and RetiredTVGM offers my favorite comment of the lot. Local content and local public service are powerful arguments in our behalf. But we can’t divorce this dialogue from other trends.
    National labor figures for 2009 show media job loss out-pacing the average of job loss rates across all American industries. (Sure, newspaper leads the losses, but broadcast is not far behind.) The problem is that a majority of those lost jobs are associated with the creation of the very content that RetiredTVGM correctly identifies as the greatest argument for broadcasting’s existence and value to our communities. If a broadcaster serves as merely a retransmission point for national or syndicated programs, or guts their local production and local service, it is hard to substantively reason that the community is “less well served” by a family receiving information and entertainment via the internet. Web-direct links to home TV viewing are common now, and run counter to the 1990s arguments that people will reject poor image quality and screen size. I get internet movie service on my home TV, and the quality is superb and access is never an issue.
    And the notion that television broadcasting is a “free media model” is not a particularly accurate reflection of viewing patterns in 2010…since the majority of national viewers do not receive their television over-the-air but via cable or satellite. But I agree with Ben Downs’ point that the ones left behind if broadcast ceases to effectively function will be the poorest and the oldest.
    With 35 years in broadcast, I am a disciple of its record and its service. But we need to ask ourselves a simple question: If you were to invest your life savings in either the twenty future of broadcast television, or the twenty year future of the internet, were would you place your bet?

      loretta mahoney says:

      March 18, 2010 at 9:27 am

      Ken – Thanks for confirming my earlier remarks.

      I was given Ken Auletta’s book “Googled – The End of the World as We Know It” for Christmas. After I read it, I was certainly happy that my 40 year career in the broadcasting business – all local TV and radio – was over and that I had prospered from it enough to have retired several years ago.

      We all know that the “newspaper” business is dying because of it’s outmoded production and delivery system, declining readership and therefore advertising revenues. Is this going to be true for broadcasting as well? It will be if we are only a “network affiliate” with syndicated programs. The past, present and future of broadcasting is in local news, information and advertising and even that may not be enough to save us because of technology!

      Here’s an aside which might put this is context. Some of my “holdings” are in a 3rd generation privately owned, primarily newspaper company which I inherited from my family. They had a chance to sell the large, local daily newspaper a few years ago and didn’t, because the “family – which is the majority of the Board” thought that the newspaper business was still a good business to be in. Today revenues are declining at an even steeper pace. Digital revenue is not growing nearly as fast as they need it to and they don’t know what to do. There’s no market available to sell this stock, so I’m watching what was a great investment for my parents go down the drain because the “Board” failed to see that they were presiding over a dying business.

simon wilkie says:

March 12, 2010 at 4:45 pm

If it wasn’t already clear – it’s good to have the confession. On the other hand, this may very well be criminal.

Questions that surface as a result are;

why does the delopment of IP types of communication and transport have to be seperated from the added value of the local TV station?

Was 8VSB choosen with the malace of forethought verse OFDM (same modulation as WiFi) so that Broadcasting could be cast as an entity seperated from the march of internet technologies?

If he is against simple accumulation of programming his tactics don’t seem to ring true. If this is the case, why support the telco and cable centric 1996 Communications Act? This speech doesn’t seem to ring fully true. Since Hundt has the long standing habit of hiding his true motivation – what makes now any different.

The position and importance of the Local TV station whether over the air, 8VSB and/or IP – the role in the democracy and the cultural richness of our communinities is without equal. Cable and DTH has no interest and/or real capabilities at the local level, nor does the big content providers and/or internet giants.

The possible solution would be to use the 700 MHZ D block by giving it to a public private partnership enabled by utilizing the skill, facilities, knowledge and relationships to deploy a new generation of IP enabled local TV that would also enable government, education, health, biz dev and access to capital to recreate the economic growth engine of the nation from the ground up so that we can once again regain the breadth depth and dynamism lost over the recent history of merger, acquisition and consolidation.

clearly a Telco- MSO puppet. where are the true champions of the public interest.

Were is Eli Noam? He’d make a much better FCC chairman even through he has Columbia roots.

    Kathryn Miller says:

    March 15, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Lynn;

    the feckless Hundt didn’t choose 8-VSB — the grand alliance did, and the fcc belatedly approved it. you’re barking up the wrong tree there, unless you think the ATSC board and ACATS process chose what they had determined to be an inferior modulation system. COFDM (as opposed to OFDM) came later.

Ellen Samrock says:

March 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm

As if Hundt’s confession and anti-broadcast advocacy isn’t bad enough, we’re now learning that the FCC will propose levying spectrum fees on broadcasters as an incentive to clear off some of the spectrum. This is outrageous! Clearly the FCC is ultimately attempting to dismantle the entire broadcast television industry. Now more then ever do we need the NAB to mobilize its resources and fight this issue.

matt fess says:

March 12, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Hundt had Genachowski as his aid in 1994? Genachowski hires “broadcast TV hitman” Stuart Benjamin, a Duke law professor on sabbatical late last year who will advise Genachowski on spectrum and First Amendment issues? Seems to me this devious plot to to take control of spectrum and thus broadcasters has been in the works for 16 years. Even before the digital transition was talked about, these guys were planning. How corupt is this? Genachowski should be dismissed as Chairman. He clearly is tarnished and biased by serving as an aid for Hundt back in 1994 and his hiring a First Amendment advisor would seem to me he is looking hard at finding ways to circumvent the constitution in order to take over spectrum and the freedom of speech.

Teri Keene says:

March 12, 2010 at 10:32 pm

When was the last time we had a competent FCC Commissioner? The 1970’s? Do away with the FCC. Get rid of the CRTC (Canada’s version of the FCC) as well.

    Kathryn Miller says:

    March 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    actually, in Canada, regulation is divided into two aspects. One is use of frequencies, and the CRC (successor to the CRTC, which was “got rid of”) handles that. Licensing matters are handled by Industry Canada. And, if we get rid of the FCC, what is to prevent me from broadcasting on the same frequency as WNBC-DT, but from New Jersey? I don’t think you’ve given this much thought…

Alex Mauricio says:

March 12, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Reed Hundt is a despicable, duplicitous, devious devil. How dare he use his former position as FCC Chairman to undermine free over-the-air broadcasting in favor of broadband, an inherently pay-service that cannot even provide a fraction of the service that broadcasting does. [I just endured a choppy rendition of his speech, most likely due to inadequate server capacity at Columbia, since I have a 10Mb/s pipe into my home]. Only a few entities on the internet have the capacity to serve content to even a few million users. Hundt’s concept that broadband should serve as the ONE universal communications medium is fatally flawed. Can you imagine 100 million households surfing to a single site, as might happen in a national emergency? TV broadcasting could easily serve the entire nation tuning into a single channel, as it would if EAS were to be activated. EAS over internet? These non-technical bureaucrats should not be setting the agenda for our country. Hundt seems to favor China; I wish he would move there now! The current FCC Chairman also needs to be replaced immediately, before he does irreparable damage to our domestic communications infrastructure. The FCC chairman should, by law, be required to have a technical background. Lawyers, without a technical background, cannot steer a body like the FCC. There are lawyers who have such a background and they would very likely do a better, more rational, job of it. As for Hundt’s rendition of history, he is truly delusional in his perception of his contribution, or lack thereof, to national communications policy; he and Al Gore seem to be at odds as to who invented the information superhighway. The admission that the Hundt FCC actually worked to delay digital television seems criminal to me. If I were the AG, I would start an investigation with aim of putting him in jail for malfeasance.

Kimberly Gari-Luff says:

March 12, 2010 at 11:31 pm

So Hundt wanted wireless Internet in 1994? I was an earlier adopter of dial-up Internet in 1995, when practically nobody knew else even knew it existed. (Check old magazines, for example; 1995 editions had no web references at all.) Broadband wireless, in the form of 802.11, wasn’t published until 1997

I think he’s totally blowing smoke out of you-know-where. He’s making it up.

Remember the contempt for Al Gore when he claimed to have invented the Internet? It’s time for more of that.

    Linda Stewart says:

    March 13, 2010 at 10:47 am

    What Hundt said was that his FCC adopted policies that encouraged dial-up Internet access, not wireless access.

Shaye Laska says:

March 13, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Google already tried selling and running:
Print ads…….Failed
Radio ads….Failed.
Now selling TV ads on cable networks and systems….miserable program.

Curious? See: http://www.google.com/adwords/tvads/how.html

Google wants in the local mass advertising media but they cannot bring
value and results to local business owners. Looks a lot easier from the outside than
it is Google.

That’s why I’m bullish on local broadcast television…because it works.

Let’s cut the nonsense and lets get the local stations the same advantages of Internet
companies in DC. That’s the real killer app!

RLT Stacy says:

March 14, 2010 at 5:15 pm

RetiredTVGM is absolutely correct, local broadcasters are just a delivery system. If we don’t deliver local content, we’ll be gone. Network and syndication will move to internet on demand, and its back to the 50s, mostly local and live will be the formula for survival. Its now time to get big, time to provide more and more local programs, local news that is actually local, not full of meaningless filler off of feeds. Stations that continue to shrink their local content will go dark, maybe only one or two in a market will survive. No business survives by giving their customers less. An investment has to be made now in order to move into the future.

Dante Betteo says:

March 14, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Yes Youngstown already has one news room that went dark. The WYTV has no local programming. Their news is produced by the WKBN. WE are a four network market with only two newsrooms. OTA TV veiwers must write the congress people and Sentors. And Yes Throw the incumbunts OUT!

Jennifer Dreyer says:

March 14, 2010 at 6:46 pm

eyeondc is exactly correct. Syndicated and network programming has several delivery options to reach the audience. In our future as broadcasters, we will not succeed by regurgitating this programming. Local production of news, information and entertainment provides our audience a reason to keep tuning-in local TV stations more than any other medium … far more than internet usage (seen TVB’s annual factbook lately?). And Local programming provides the ideal platform for local businesses to battle behemoths such as WalMart or Home Depot. Whether it’s “back to the 50’s” or a 21st century approach, the idea is right: keep local broadcasting alive by keeping it local! Let’s all go visit our federal lawmakers and expres outrage right now!

Brian Harris says:

March 15, 2010 at 12:05 am

A few things I haven’t heard: OTA TV hasn’t yet been hacked, filled with spam, spyware, identity theft, etc. While most people get their local TV via cable or satellite, the cable headends and the satellite headends get the signals via OTA (at least in many places). The bottom line, however, is that blogs will never be a substitute for the 4th estate and the Internet can be easily controlled by government. Local stations have the power to bring this issue to the people. I believe the outcry will be bigger and louder than anyone can imagine!

Christina Perez says:

March 15, 2010 at 9:35 am

It’s all about pay for play. The internet over broadcast cabal wants information and entertainment to go only to those who can pay the piper — and the public interest be damned.

It’s also all about the government’s use of radio frequencies to impose Orewellian control over the population — via wireless radio technology that has spawned a nationwide cell tower- mounted government microwave/laser attack system that, believe it or not, is being used to silently torture, impair, and yes, to SLOW KILL “targeted” American citizens — including citizens targeted for their political beliefs, their activism, or, many maintain, their ethnic background.

Read this and wake up, broadcasters, before this “final solution” destroys the industry and Americans’ traditional right to free and universal broadcast information and entertainment:

http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-govt-uses-cbs-news-cover-microwave-cell-tower-torture OR http://www.poynter.org/subject.asp?id=2

Chris Van Deusen says:

March 15, 2010 at 10:28 am

All I can say is I don’t believe anyone ever got their identity stolen by watching broadcast TV.

    Chris Van Deusen says:

    March 15, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Sorry. I guess this was already covered by Charlie C, above. Didn’t mean to be redundant, so just read Charlies post, above! Hear! Hear!

John Stelzer says:

March 15, 2010 at 11:30 am

The claim that the Internet and such are “more democratic” and “facilitate democracy” is a new twist on an old theme – the limitation of the effectiveness of political speech by those who are not members of the political class through regulation and/or voice proliferation/diffusion. One of the major reasons for the creation of the Federal Radio Commission (predecessor to the FCC) in the 1920s was Congressional fear of the perceived future power of broadcasters to influence politics. Regulations were adopted not only to avoid frequency usage conflicts, but also to limit the ability of the electronic press to take control of political discussions away from the political classes. This later resurfaced in a quote attributed to former FCC Chairman Charles Ferris in the late ’70s, who supposedly stated “we will continue to allot new stations until none of you can make any money”, the theory being that sucking the profitability out of broadcasting would cause broadcasters to avoid taking any positions on political issues for fear of offending any advertiser’s political sentiments. Expressing a policy preference for Internet media over broadcasting is another step in this direction. Those who can’t afford a broadband connection or aren’t smart enough to use it won’t be politically active. Those who can/do will be faced with so many choices and conflicting information that they won’t form any coherent opposition. The political classes, regardless of party affiliation, will always seek to dominate all political discussion. And from where do Commisioners and Chairmen come?

    Kathryn Miller says:

    March 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    the most democratic institution around is a raging mob: no direction or planning, but directly influenced by all members as they wish.

Scott McDaniel says:

March 15, 2010 at 11:32 am

The internet has its place in our world society, and many things in our twenty-first century life are enhanced by its existence. However, it is not the total answer to our mass communications needs.
We are still thought to be a free and open society in America. I write “thought to be” for obvious reasons. Those being, among others, the “duopolitic” world local broadcastiing has become. The corporate world has taken over too much control of this country. Companies like Clear Channel have, through their leagues of attorneys, managed to wipe out needed rules and regulations at the FCC so that we now have single corporate owners of multiple radio stations in a single market. No one can tell me that that kind of control is “serving the interests, necessities and concerns ” of the citizens of such markets.
The trend since the Republicans gained control of the House during the Clinton Administration has been to deregulate as much as possible in every genre. The corporations with thier large pocketbooks have been given the keys to “hen house”. They are systematically gobbling up everything they can sink their greedy teeth into. The greed is not limited to the dollars they can consume, but has gone now to ultimate power over all matters.
Wiping out over-the-air broadcasting is an important part of the puzzle to controlling us. They must be stopped. The only way to do it is, as pointed out above by Steven Brant, is through political activity backed up by votes that remove individuals in office who support the subversive wave in our government.
This will be no easy matter to accomplish. There is very big money behind Mr. Hundt & Co. It must be done.
Peter Bright

Mark Featherston says:

March 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm

I wish this was one of those scam emails that the almightly internet is so famous for. I haven’t checked snopes yet.

This whole thing makes me feel like a fool for actualy trusting our government and writing off so many of those conspiracy theorists as nuts.

Now I wonder if there really are aliens in Roswell and area 51.

My government has been trying to run my company out of business for years and years now. I’m not as proud to be an American as I used to be.

Mark Featherston says:

March 15, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Is it coincidence that the video won’t play on my broadband connection?

jeff lee says:

March 15, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Just what we all need, more ways to get porn into the eyes of our kids.

David Williams says:

March 16, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Interesting diatribe….. not sure I can subscribe to the “sky is falling” when I can’t get programming to view via my robust internet pipeline….. I wonder if Rupert has a lot of money backing Hundt?


More News