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They said it in 2004: April

As the old year exits stage right and the new year makes its way to center stage, we thought we'd string together a compendium of quotes which appeared in RBR/TVBR during the past year. Today: April 2004

* "I don't think anybody came here today expecting to walk out with a firm imperative. It's not going to be resolved in 30 days or even 60 days." - - NAB President/CEO Eddie Fritts on the Summit on Responsible Programming (4/1/04 RBR #64)

* "Broadcasters are committed to a plan of voluntary action to deal with the issue of responsible programming. Given the serious First Amendment concerns surrounding issues related to program content, it is our strong belief that voluntary industry initiatives are far preferable to government regulation." - - NAB President/CEO Eddie Fritts on formation of a Task Force on Responsible Programming (4/2/04 RBR #65)

* "It is very hard to balance and reconcile our moral and cultural values on one hand, and the enormous value we place on speech free from government intrusion on the other. At the margins this is quite difficult and the FCC has generally been cautious." - - FCC Chairman Michael Powell on indecency (4/2/04 RBR #65)

* "Indeed, if you've ever debriefed a child on returning from summer camp, you will realize that children make up their own songs, and they are a lot worse than those on the radio!" Whitney Radio's William O'Shaughnessy suggesting that the outcry about protecting children from indecent programming may be overblown (4/2/04 RBR #65)

* "It isn't the People Meter itself. It's not the People Meter. It's how they got to the People Meter. It's how they divided Latinos into this or that category - - language category. When Ford has a broken car, they recall it, fix it and put it out there. So what we're saying is fix the damn thing before you put it out there. It is the underlying methodology that is broken." - - Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition on his opposition to Nielsen's Local People Meters. (4/6 TVBR #67)

* "In line with our zero tolerance policy and after conducting a thorough investigation of a March 19th broadcast on WKLS-FM, we have decided we will no longer broadcast the 'The Regular Guys.' We will announce replacement programming in the near future, but remain confident in our ability to continue to provide compelling, entertaining and informative programming that meets the tastes and desires of our listeners." - - Clear Channel Radio-Atlanta Regional Vice President Pat McDonnell after the airing of an X-rated conversation with a porn star. (4/12 RBR #71)

* "Whenever you're calling attention to Nielsen in any form in any market, it has the potential of skewing the results of the study." - - Ed Munson, Regional VP of LIN Television and Chairman of the NAB's Committee on Local Television Audience Measurement (COLTAM), after opponents of Nielsen's Local People Meters ran newspaper and radio ads urging a boycott. (4/12 TVBR #71)

* "On the surface, both ideas sound appealing, but a deeper look can only lead to the conclusion that, if adopted, either would have a chilling effect on programming diversity in America." - - Radio One's Alfred Liggins arguing against a la carte cable channel selection (4/13/04 RBR #72)

* "They'd rather eat their children than give up this spectrum." - - FCC Media Bureau Chief Ken Ferree joking about broadcaster reluctance to proceed with the frequency giveback upon the switch to digital television broadcast (4/15/04 RBR #74)

* "The notion that cable companies could down-convert DTV signals to analog - - and count those customers towards the 85% DTV penetration test - - would seriously hinder the transition to digital and high definition television. A fundamental question is this: How would allowing a cable operator to degrade a local broadcaster's high quality HDTV signal into analog further the DTV transition?" - - NAB's Dennis Wharton, arguing against the so-called Ferree Plan (4/15/04 RBR #74)

* "MultiCultural Radio Broadcasting's conduct in this matter has been disgraceful. To shut off a broadcast that listeners rely on without warning and in the middle of discussions is the height of irresponsibility and a slap in the face of the media industry. In addition, it is a clear violation of their contractual obligations, and we are seeking legal remedies against them in court." - - Air America Chairman Evan Cohen after the start-up network was pulled off the air in Los Angeles and Chicago in a financial dispute. (4/15 RBR #74)

* "The Commission's decision that the isolated use of an unplanned and unscripted expletive is both 'indecent' and 'profane' represents an unconstitutional expansion of the government's intrusion into broadcast content...The Golden Globe Awards decision amounts to a rulemaking through adjudication that imposes sweeping new content controls on the broadcast industry. Because the Commission adopted this new approach without notice or opportunity for public comment, Petitioners urge the Commission to reconsider this decision." - - filing from a cross-discipline group comprised of television networks, broadcast ownership groups, industry organizations, watchdog groups and entertainers (4/20/04 RBR #77)

* "Every single day since September 11, 2001, you have kept America informed about this century's greatest threat to the world community. Whether getting ready for work, going to school or just tuning into a favorite broadcaster any hour of the day, America has listened and learned about international terrorism from you." - - Department of Homeland Security's Tom Ridge to the RTNDA (4/20/04 RBR #77)

* "It's not likely to enchant your Aunt Millie, or, for that matter, Michael Powell, the power-mad FCC chairman who is trying to 'clean up' television as 101 would-be reformers have tried before him." - - Washington Post television critic Tom Shales on Showtime's "Queer ads Folk" (4/20/04 RBR #77)

* "You are seeing a reaction by the FCC that is long overdue, The decency standard has been overlooked for a long time." - - Cumulus Media Chairman/CEO Lew Dickey applauding the indecency crackdown (4/21/04 RBR #78)

* "I'm still young and vibrant." - - NAB President & CEO Eddie Fritts on rumors that he was retiring immediately. (4/21 RBR #78)

* "I'm negotiating his contract renewal." - - NAB Joint Board Chairman Phil Lombardo, CEO of Citadel Communications, denying any attempt on his part to force Fritts to leave his post immediately. (4/21 RBR #78)

* "There is a lot of concern that his Neanderthal ways are hurting the association." - - Regent Communications President Bill Stakelin, an NAB Radio Board member, on the management style of Joint Board Chairman Phil Lombardo. (4/21 RBR #78)

* "We'll conform and we'll fight 'em...We are aggressively going to take the FCC to court if we get an opportunity." Viacom's Mel Karmazin (4/23/04 RBR #80)

* "The executive committee instructed Phil [Lombardo] to offer Eddie [Fritts] an extension and they're in the process of talking about that." - - NAB TV Board chair Michael Fiorile, President and CEO of Dispatch Broadcast Group, following a rash of rumors at the Las Vegas convention that Joint Board Chairman Lombardo was seeking Fritts' immediate ouster as NAB President and CEO. (4/27 TVBR #82)

* "Our objective is to go back to the government, go back to the FCC and tell them that we are able to self-police ourselves." LIN TV Chairman Gary Chapman, co-chair of the NAB's Responsible Broadcasting Task Force. (4/30 TVBR #85)


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