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01.30.2005
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
FCC's Copps blasts lack of independently produced TV fare

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps has called for a block of prime network television time be set aside for programming from independent producers.

In a satellite-delivered video speech shown at the NATPE programming conference in Las Vegas last week, Copps continued his quest for greater diversity on television. During his speech, Copps said the FCC should consider and approve setting aside 25 or 35 percent of primetime hours for independent producers and creators.

He also renewed his campaign against media consolidation. He said that the same companies that own the broadcast networks and cable systems own 90 percent of the leading cable channels.

The commissioner said the effects of media consolidation are not a future threat and that he’s concerned that the Internet is eventually “going down the same road as other media” in a trend that stifles creativity.

Copps said that amidst all the discussions on the mechanics of the DTV transition, the FCC has yet to decide how DTV is going to enhance the public interest. He voiced support for a plan that includes a public interest requirement for more independent viewpoints and sources in DTV programming.

Copps said he believes the commission needs to “get this requirement on the books before it completes action on must-carry.”

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