Martin opposes public interest time requirements


Democrats on the FCC have been pushing the idea of spelling out specific public interest programming requirements for broadcasters, tying it to the addition of DTV multicast channels, but perhaps including minimum time requirements for all radio and television licensees. But FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was having none of it yesterday at the NAB Radio Show in Charlotte. "I actually believe they are doing a lot," Martin said of the service broadcasters already provide to their local communities. He suggested that the FCC needs to modify its survey forms to better quantify the public service efforts of broadcasters. "I don’t think people are aware of how much the broadcasters are doing," Martin said. As for any time requirement, he warned that any regulatory minimum might not be just a floor, but also a ceiling, discouraging stations from doing even more. So while he does support the children’s television rules enacted in recent years, the Chairman said he does not see the need to impose any additional program time requirements on broadcasters.