The re-election of President George W. Bush, coupled with the return of Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), signal to some FCC staffers that there will be a "ramp up" on the indecency issue, resulting in mor
The re-election of President George W. Bush, coupled with the return of Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), signal to some FCC staffers that there will be a "ramp up" on the indecency issue, resulting in more broadcaster fines coming through the pipeline in the coming year.
"We've been reluctant to do a lot more on this issue," one FCC staffer tells Billboard.biz this morning (Nov. 3), "but it's going to be tougher to ignore." The implications, according to this staffer? "Look for some outside pressure first, coming from private groups" that feel emboldened by a new opportunity to pressure the Commission on indecency.
As far as the House and Senate elections are concerned, most of the key players on the Commerce committees in both chambers remain in position. Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) has announced his retirement. Any changes to committee membership will take place when the new Congress convenes, but industry observers don't expect any significant changes.
Sources at the FCC say the big question now, with President Bush's re-election, is whether Chairman Michael Powell will opt to stay for a short while, or put in a longer term as head of the Commission.
It's also possible that commissioner Jonathan Adelstein's office could get a new occupant in the not-too-distant future. Erwin Krasnow, counsel for Garvey, Schubert, Barer in Washington, D.C., tells Billboard.biz: "Remember ... Adelstein has not been confirmed by the Senate." Should both Powell and Adelstein exit, then "What's critically important at the FCC is that the public interest becomes what three commissioners say it is." Krasnow adds, "There's increasing speculation that Powell will leave early next year. Since each vote is critical, what happens with their two seats is going have a tremendous impact on the Commission's policies."
As for a rise in indecency regulation at the FCC, Krasnow says, "In the last year, there's been real, bi-partisan support for strict enforcement of the indecency rules. With the new Commission, there's no reason to expect that support to change."