OPEN MEETING OF
THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INTEREST OBLIGATIONS
OF DIGITAL TELEVISION BROADCASTERS
Monday, November 9, 1998
The Ronald Reagan Building and
International Trade Center
Polaris Room, Concourse Level
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004
Transcript of the morning session,
(Click here to view part one
of the morning session)
(Click here to view the afternoon
MR. ORNSTEIN: Our goal here is to wrap
everything up by noon.
MR. MOONVES: One statement about what we have
been talking about. In fairness, to Mr. Ornstein, the
provision, this paragraph, has been in existence for six
weeks and has not been commented on until today.
Paragraph four on the multiplexing was in existence for
six weeks versus the disclosure report which was in
existence for six minutes.
I am sorry, Gigi. That wasn't a shot. Well, a
MR. MOONVES: So this was on the table. And
people are acting like it's a brand-new issue here. So I
just wanted to mention that. I think the discourse is
good. And in fact Mr. Diller brings up some very
significant points about free TV versus pay TV. I might
not tie them to minimum standards as he does, however this
was in existence for quite a while.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Let's see if there are any
additional comments on this issue of multiplexing. And if
not, we will move on. But please, the floor is open.
Rob, who isn't here, I think had something to
say. But we will leave it open.
MR. LACAMERA: I know this has been in existence
for a while and I have spoken on it before, so I am
comfortable speaking on it again. And that is the issue
that the language that is in here, warning against any of
this discouraging expansion or experimentation could not
be -- it needs to be stronger I think.
MR. ORNSTEIN: That is fine.
MR. LACAMERA: If you think this through, and
the reality of the premise of what this is going to be,
these could very well be niche channels. I mean they
probably will not be full-service channels. So Jim
Goodman's premise, which many cited, that a channel is a
channel is a channel, I would dispute that. And I would
be very cautious that the structure or the same level of
public service responsibilities and whatever don't
discourage stations from providing additional services to
viewers, and competing certainly on an economic front by
providing free services in competition to what cable now
MR. ORNSTEIN: Okay, we will go back and work on
that language, as well as think about the smaller stations
a little bit more.
I do want to note that Jose Luis Ruiz is with us
electronically and is listening in. And he is right here
in this particular box. So we welcome his comments, as
well, and hope he is able to hear.
MS. SOHN: Norm, I am just unclear. And I would
like to at least see if there is a consensus for the
notion that when a broadcaster multiplexes they have to do
something more, whether it be multiple mandatory public
interest obligations to the extent that that's what we
vote for -- I hope -- or something else.
MR. MOONVES: There is also the ability to write
a dissenting report. There are people who disagree on
MS. SOHN: But what are we agreeing on? That is
what I am asking you.
MR. ORNSTEIN: In a more general way, is there
anybody who believes that whether it is in the form of
mandatory obligations or some kind of menu as we have
placed, that if you do multiple channels there is a
significant public interest obligation that goes with
them? I mean let's -- that's probably convoluted
language -- anybody who believes that there are no
additional obligations that accrue when you do multiple
channels, whether it be having all the public interest
obligations apply across all channels or some other, more
flexible structure? Do we have any dissent there?
MR. MASUR: I actually wanted to respond to
Gigi's question, since nobody seems to be screaming for
the floor on yours. Which doesn't mean it wasn't a good
MR. ORNSTEIN: Thank you.
MR. MOONVES: Nobody understood the question.
That was the problem.
MR. MASUR: I just wanted to suggest there might
be, again, depending upon how we go with the mandatory
obligations and -- minimum standards, rather -- there
might be a way to incorporate. I very much want to
identify myself with Barry's comments about consistency,
either on one channel or many channels, on the one hand.
On the other hand, because as other people have
brought up, it may not be applicable in certain
circumstances -- for example, if you are broadcasting an
all-sports channels, you know, it is going to get public
interest stuff in there, aside from United Way commercials
or something -- so what I was going to suggest is that
there could be a way to write this wherein we recognize
that this is a consistent obligation that should run
through, but may not be applicable. And insofar as it is
not applicable, here are some alternative ways that
licensees could respond as variations to simply adhering
to the mandatory minimum requirements, if that is what we
And that may be a fudge, but I cannot figure out
any other way to address the two divergent problems.
Which is I believe we have to state clearly that there has
to be consistency, and that there should be obligations on
all stations -- on all channels, rather -- and then figure
out if there are ways -- or then state ways that these
could be met, which would be distinct from the related to
those obligations. I do not know if that makes sense.
MR. DILLER: Except I think that there is a
misconception. And I think most people -- I won't say
most people -- but I do not think there is -- I mean I am
sure there is a program form -- but any program form,
movies, sports, anything you want to say, you will be able
to -- I can't imagine that you could not equip public
interest responsibilities consistent with that form in
various creative ways.
And so I think there should be no dilution to
it. And that in 100 percent of the cases it can be
figured out. And if you can't figure it out, don't do it.
Do it on a pay service.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Well, that is the case now that
an all-sports channel could bring on Jesse, "the Body,"
Ventura, and cover the political stories obligations.
MR. MASUR: Or Steve Largent.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Steve Largent, J.C. Watts and
professional wrestling is more appropriate for the
MS. WHITE: Before we leave multiplexing, I know
we discussed and we've exhausted the trust fund for PBS,
but have we decided or have we determined where those
funds will go? And will we? Or is that in another area
MR. ORNSTEIN: Where the funds will go in terms
of the trust fund?
MS. WHITE: No, the fees collected.
MR. ORNSTEIN: I will try and work on language
that will satisfy everybody without creating the larger
rift that otherwise might occur.
I mean it seems to me perfectly appropriate to
suggest that if Congress and the President in their wisdom
do not want to change the law with regard to the current
allocation of spectrum auction fees or whatever, that we
urge them to look at additional sources of revenue. And
we have got places where those are suggested. Certainly
we want to emphasize -- I think it is our consensus
here -- that recommending additional channels, say an
additional educational channel, will not work unless there
is adequate funding.
And I think we have made our suggestion that a
trust fund be provided for public broadcasting in the
digital era, as clear as it could be. And we offer
multiple sources or opportunities for funding there, as
Let me make just a broader comment here. What I
hope to do as we go through these -- if I can, I would
just as soon not have formal votes on anything -- the idea
here is that we will try and come up with a report that
represents, again, a consensus, if not unanimity. If
people feel, individual members, feel in the end that they
don't want to endorse the report, per se, obviously that
is your right as individuals. I would urge you all, as we
go through this -- and we will try and take into account
these comments when we go back and rewrite -- frame your
problems in terms of individual views.
The best way for us to emerge is to have a
report that reflects the broad view of the committee with
individual concurring and/or dissenting opinions, and
specific areas -- or even I could see, for example, an
individual view that would lay out a coherent, here is the
way this whole thing ought to work; here is what free
broadcast television is about and why it ought to be done
through this kind of a structure. I mean do it in a
And we will highlight the individual views in a
way that I hope people will see them as an integral part
of the report. But as we go through this and we move from
one area to the other, we will leave open the opportunity
for people to raise these issues again. But I hope, when
we move past one, when I say, or when Les is providing and
he says, all right, any other comments on this, and we
move on, that's a fairly clear indication that we have had
a lot of individual expressions, but that what we have put
down here does reflect our larger consensus.
MR. YEE: But how do you measure the fervor of
any consensus if we don't have a sense of our individual
reactions to this? Our silence may not necessarily
constitute full agreement or partial agreement. And when
you say try and develop the broad recommendations, what
concerns me in these individual dissenting remarks, it
could undercut or devaluate the board recommendations,
whoever puts this together. It concerns me that the
report could be weighted in terms of the dissenting
I am worried about that we are not getting a
sense of closure as to how you evaluate the consensus, the
degree of consensus.
MR. ORNSTEIN: It seems to me that's the best
way to evaluate the degree of consensus. If in the end
you have a recommendation out there, and let's say five
individual members strongly or not say I disagree with
this or I disagree with this part, I think we ought to do
something else, then it's fairly clear to whoever reads it
where the group is coming from. Either you agree with it
or you agree with exceptions, or you disagree with
exceptions, or you disagree with vehemence.
So anybody reading that is going to have a very
clear picture of where the committee is coming from.
MR. BENTON: I am sure we will be discussing
this very point you have been making later on in the
meeting. I want to come back to multiplexing, Norm, for a
If we look ahead 10 to 15 years -- and I think
that this is the area where we need to do that -- there
has been a great deal of talk about the 500-channel
universe in cable television. It isn't here yet, but it
could be here in five to 10 years. The potential of
multiplying now, from one channel to five or six, means we
can go from 1,500 broadcasting stations to 10,000,
So the diversity that Gigi is looking to and the
potentials of meeting new needs, and especially with
information as opposed to entertainment, I mean it is
really mind-boggling. That is why I have kept on
hammering away at this datacasting idea. Because the
datacasting is just kind of a vague glimmer of what is
We saw this morning just a little, tiny, vague
glimmer. And actually that program this morning, Frank
Lloyd Wright, it was a retrofit. It was not built from
the beginning with the program creation and the
alternative parallel production that they talked about.
No, it was a retrofit.
So we are just at the very beginning of the
first model, which is in fact, from the data standpoint, a
retrofit. So you can see the potentials here for the
future, which we do need to give some further thought to
as we move into the 10,000 universe for broadcasting
vis-a-vis its competitors in cable and the telecos.
So I think we need maybe to pull back here and
to think in a more visionary way about the potentials of
multiplexing to meet the public interest, convenience and
MR. ORNSTEIN: Absolutely.
MR. DUHAMEL: As we go into multiplexing, the
world is going to be changing. But the point is that
broadcasters are going to be going into segments. Now, we
have ratings. And you are going to die if there is nobody
watching. And so the point is we have got to please the
public and we have to please the diverse community out
there. Because if we don't, somebody is going to.
I mean if you have got a 10,000 channel station
universe, my God, it is boggling. You have got to be
there, and competitively. The market is going to force
you there or you are going to die. And so that is why the
flexibility is the other thing. I am hearing a lot of
requirements. We don't know where this model is going, as
Charles said, 10-15 years from now.
And I think the market is going to force in
there. Because, you know, in Rapid City, we would be
looking at 40 or 50 channels. I have no idea what we
would do with 40 or 50 channels.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Anybody else?
MR. ORNSTEIN: Okay. We can come back to this
issue. But if not, let's move on. And a number of people
at the break suggested we bracket the pre-lunch and the
post-lunch discussion. When Robert arrives, although his
plane, I gather, is having some trouble landing, we will
have a discussion on the issue that clearly provides the
most lively debate among us. And that is the minimum
So let's open up at least for a little bit of
discussion on that issue now. And then we will continue
or come back to it.
MR. RUIZ: If I could take an opportunity to
comment on the educational proposal.
MR. ORNSTEIN: The question is, will Jose Luis
have any opportunity to comment on the educational
proposal? We will vote on that, Jose Luis.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Just kidding. Of course you
will. Go right ahead.
MR. RUIZ: First of all, I apologize. I didn't
get back. I was in a very remote part of the world.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Los Angeles?
MR. RUIZ: No. Now I'm in Los Angeles, and I
can hear you loud and clear. I didn't receive Frank's
letter, and I hope to get that during the lunch break and
I can probably comment a little more, but first I think we
have a consensus as a committee as to what we want in the
area of education and public -- and hopefully public
I think the question pertaining to the education
part of the proposal is who best can deliver it, and I do
have an objection to including the language that you have
that prioritizes the public broadcasting station, and with
your permission I want to submit a document that CTD gave
to the 103rd Congress called reaching a common ground.
Before we rush off to judgment, if the committee members
would look at that, it tells you how much minority
participation there is in public broadcasting, where it's
at, including the programming.
What will help me a lot, and maybe Frank can
help me here, is, my understanding there's a difference
between children's programming departmentalized and public
broadcasting and FCTB and educational programming, and I'd
like to see where the budgets are, because I think we're
confusing the two a lot of times.
MR. CRUZ: Jose, can you hear me?
MR. RUIZ: Yes.
MR. CRUZ: I'm not quite sure if I can give you
a definite answer to the latter half as to the funding and
how it breaks down for children's and education in
general. That the two of them exist, there's no question
I think the mission and the goals of public
broadcasting, as you well know, includes educative goals
as well as broken off separately to children's programming
and children's education. The educational goals I think
are a much better context as you and I know them, which
would include lifelong learning and adult education and so
forth, distance learning, but in terms of the specific
numbers, I can't help you on that now. I don't have that
MR. RUIZ: It's my understanding, and this was
from the Department of Education, that these are
departments that are very cash poor, and I didn't
prioritize within PCB or PBS, and if the goal is to
increase educational programming I think we need a
proposal that the money is going to go there and it's
going to be used there and it's going to be just first
Right now, I think part of my hesitance is that
there's a long history of having stepchildren at CPB, at
PBS that do not have adequate funding in comparison with
the other programming activities, and I feel very
uncomfortable not having some kind of assurances as to
what the goals are in the Department of Education and how
can we support them in a way that they function in a way
that I think the committee wants us to.
MS. CHARREN: It sounds to me like you're
talking about the difference between the over the air
programming which public broadcasting does for everybody,
including children, and instructional programming designed
to be used in school during the school day, that many,
most public broadcasting stations offer directly to
schools, and it's curriculum related, and it's the kind of
programming that the extra space, the extra six MHz will
be able to do more of.
In a system that is supposed to be serving
children the way everybody is supposed to be served by
television, they can't just do instructional programming.
That would mean that the comparable thing would be if
broadcasters only did one university in all their
programming, and children are not second class citizens
for the other kind of television.
So I think the good news about keeping both sets
of space, the two pieces of 6 MHz, that the instructional
programming that really is designed in a different way to
enhance education, will be in bloom if we can find the
money to pay for it, and that the other stuff will
certainly still happen.
And that that's like -- you know, GBH, for
example, now is looking for money to do a nifty
educational programming that's not designed for in-school
use, particularly, although the schools will make use of
it, between the lines, which is a literacy goal, and I
think the difference in those two kinds of programming is
what -- for children at least is what is the reason why
two pieces of spectrum for public broadcasting, because
those uses of digital television is getting to be a fact
MR. RUIZ: I agree with you, Peggy. I think
that is part of my confusion. I think that while CPB and
PBS do a wonderful job in children's programming I think
when we talk about educational programs it's very cloudy
MS. CHARREN: All that money isn't supposed to
go just for educational programming.
MR. RUIZ: I think there are members there that
have the impression that it is.
MS. CHARREN: Well, maybe we will fix that with
MR. ORNSTEIN: Thanks, Jose Ruiz.
Let's open up our discussion of minimum
standards, and the floor is open.
MR. LA CAMERA: Can we hear a little bit about
the committee process that led to this?
MR. GOODMON: What do you want to know about it?
MR. ORNSTEIN: Before we do that, let me make
one point in terms of framework and structure. There are
two separate issues here. One issue is whether there
should be minimum standards. The second issue is what
minimum standards, and as we carry out our discussion, I
want to as much as we possibly can keep those distinct.
They're obviously related together, but it's
also -- it strikes me that we may have a different
viewpoint as a committee on one than the other, so let's
just keep that in mind.
MR. LA CAMERA: I just thought it would be
helpful to understand how we evolved from your September 9
cochairman's document to this document.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Why don't you talk a little bit,
Jim, about what you guys did. Who was on the committee?
MR. GOODMON: Let's see, Harold, Karen, and
Shelby, and we were asked to have a report in by a certain
date, and I was not able to get in touch with Shelby, but
Karen and Harold, we talked about it, and did the best job
we could at coming up with a report.
I don't think anybody has suggested that every
member of our committee absolutely agrees with every item,
but I thought that with the two members that I did discuss
it. We came pretty close. As a matter of fact, we made a
lot of changes for Harold, but there's no suggestion that
anything in here can't be changed, or we don't need better
ideas. I don't want process to get in the way. I mean,
this is up for any sort of amendment anybody wants to make
I wanted to say, Mr. Chairman, I don't know who
wrote the public interest part, the history, section 2.
MR. ORNSTEIN: That was drafted by David Bolyer.
MR. GOODMON: I think they did a very good job
in terms of the history of the public interest standard,
and I wanted to start this discussion with the notion that
there's a whole lot more that we agree on here than we
disagree on and that is, everybody here believes that the
public interest serving the local community and the public
interest obligation is the key to over-the-air
broadcasting, free over-the-air broadcasting. I don't
think anybody disagrees with that.
What we're talking about is what form does that
commitment or covenant, what form does that take? What
form does that commitment to serve the public take, and is
it reasonable to suggest that broadcasters make a
commitment to do that in a form that is minimum standards
and voluntary code, and that's the notion we've been
I don't know how we can make commitments, serve
the public, and get our licenses, and I don't know what
other form it should take if it's not in the form of
minimum requirements. I don't know what another vehicle
for broadcasters to commit to operate in the public
interest and what we have done here, and I started the
first meeting, the first meeting I handed out the code and
I talked about very minimum standards and a voluntary
code, and that is the notion of, we need minimum
standards, not what the standards are, but we need minimum
standards and I believe we have a committee consensus in
MR. MOONVES: On what, the fact that you need
MR. GOODMON: Yes.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Harold, did you want to comment?
MR. CRUMP: I will agree with what Jim said. My
problem with all of this was simply that the last time
that I was engaged in television conversation, Jim, as I
tried to point out in the letter, he had a great deal of
difficulty trying to pull all of us together and never was
able to constantly, but as we worked back and forth I made
a number of suggestions which, as Jim said, were accepted,
and which pleased me, and I appreciated it as we went on.
There were other suggestions that were still
hanging out there, and I thought there was going to be at
least another one or two conversations about what the
final product would be that was sent back to the full
committee and, unfortunately, this did not take place and,
as I tried to point out in the letter, I didn't feel this
was Jim's fault, because he just couldn't pull us all
together as we went, but there are some areas in there
that I do not have agreement with.
MR. GOODMON: But on the issue of, should we
have minimum standards, which is what we're on, I think
there is a consensus. At least I didn't hear from anybody
that we shouldn't have minimum standards.
MR. CRUMP: There are all sorts of ways to word
this as we go along, and I had as you know some different
feelings on that.
I guess I come back again to what was brought up
by Paul just a moment ago. This paper that was given to
us, I believe in September, which was titled, cochairman's
framework for recommendations of the advisory committee,
and as I went through that and we went through that
together we come down to the final page and we have here a
section entitled, new approach to public interest
obligations, and I got the feeling everybody here, I
really was very pleasantly surprised when I received this,
when I read it through, because the vast majority of what
was put in here I didn't agree with everything but I
agreed with the phraseology and the way we approached the
problem going in, and I was really hopeful that at some
point this was going to raise its head again as to what we
would go forward with.
I was then somewhat surprised when we got to all
of the documents that were sent to us. I'm not saying I
disagree with all of them again, but I certainly liked the
thrust of what was in here.
There are, if you want to go down through -- I
don't know where you want to go, Mr. Chairman, from here
in this, if you want to go down through this one
subsection at a time, or how we go, but you've heard why I
said what I did and how I feel as I feel, and I guess we
can pick it up and go from here.
I don't know how the other members of the full
committee have responded or reacted to this as well, and
Karen is sitting here who was taking part in that, and I'm
sure she has her own thoughts.
MS. STRAUSS: It is my understanding also that
at the last meeting there was a general consensus that
there would be some minimum mandatory standards, that it
wasn't just minimum voluntary standards but would be
minimum mandatory standards. I think it would be very
helpful to confirm that there is a consensus that we would
MR. MOONVES: I'm not voting on anything, Karen.
MS. STRAUSS: The reason I say this is because,
as Jim just said, we're not wedded to everything in this
document. The goal here is to get a consensus, and if
things have to be changed then in the interest of
achieving consensus that can be done.
I think it would be much worse if we put out a
document with very, very strong dissents by very many
members on the committee, so I think it would be helpful
to take this in a two-step process.
My understanding of what occurred and our phone
calls, just to answer your questions, Paul, is that yes,
we did have a difficult time getting together, but there
was one significant conference call that the three of us
took part in where we agreed generally on all of these
principles, or most of these principles, apparently, then
there were some additional matters that Harold had that
were not followed up on, and I think they could be
followed up on here.
I don't think that's a problem and, as I said, I
don't think there's necessarily anything in here that
can't be discussed, but I would hope that the approach
that we take to this is not a hostile one, but rather one
of deliberation and discussion, rather than rejecting it
It should not be an all-or-nothing document,
especially since as we all thought, or many of us thought
last time, we moved very close to agreeing that there
would be some mandatory minimums.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Barry.
MR. DILLER: I would like to know with as much
specificity as possible and clarity what the objections
are to the specifics.
MS. STRAUSS: That would be very helpful.
MR. LA CAMERA: If I could just address one
general principle first, and please understand I don't
think there's any disagreement that digital broadcasting
necessitates an affirmation if not an enhancement of the
public service obligations of broadcasters and how we
achieve that. I thought we had taken an important step in
the September 9 document, as Harold cited, and Les cited
in his opening remarks.
However, to propose defining content and time
periods for that content I think most broadcasters view it
to be, one, regressive and second, oppressive. This is
the mentality of the seventies, back when there were a big
three networks and we affiliates were part of an
That world has changed. We are increasingly in
a democracy of content delivery, of signals in
competition. While this may have made sense 20 years ago
I think most broadcasters would argue it makes little
That is not to dismiss my opening statement that
we need to find hopefully some consensus, again, of
affirming and advancing what our public interest
responsibilities are, but to suggest that there should be
60 minutes between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m.
of public affairs programming each week on every
television station in this Nation again is a regressive
concept and one that was disabused many years ago and, I
think, appropriately so.
MR. GOODMON: And Paul, how do you suggest we
express our commitment? I'm with you here now. Nobody
MR. LA CAMERA: I think we've addressed the
issue of how one documents that commitment and that's what
I still, again -- and I had some concerns about adding up
I think there was very fine work under the
leadership of Gigi on the reporting requirements, and
there are a lot of other creative concepts that were
included in that September 9 document, everything from the
commitment of the 5 minutes per night for political
discourse in the 30 days leading up to an election. I
thought it was very creative. It allowed some flexibility
on the part of broadcasters.
This attachment A does not allow flexibility on
the part of broadcasters, and again, it's not sensitive to
a representative of what is a very changed world of free
over-the-air television today.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Richard.
MR. MASUR: I -- you know what, Norm -- well,
let me wait until some other people express some of their
reservations, then I will come back.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Gigi.
MS. SOHN: I think I know now how Charlie Brown
feels when Lucy pulls the football away from him and he
falls flat on his back. That September 9 document was one
which we shaped and changed significantly at the meeting
and so I just don't understand how, Harold and Paul, you
guys can say that that's the document, that document
survived in almost any way, shape, or form after the long
discussion we had September 9. That's number 1.
My concern, Norm, is that in yours and Les's
reticence to take votes, that what we're going to have is
a kind of mush agreement, and then we will come up with a
I like this document, and let me just say, this
document is not one I would have written, or most of my
colleagues in the public interest community would have
written. If anybody thinks that I'm a radical on this
committee they better look around the room, because I'm
I was willing to sign on to something that was
not nearly what I would like to see, and now I'm seeing
people walking away from it, and I find that really
What I'm concerned about is that you're going to
go and you're going to work your behind off again and come
up with a document that hopefully I will like again and
other people won't sign on to it, and other people won't,
so what we'll have is, maybe we'll have a majority for
this document, okay, but that majority would have voted
for an even stronger document, and I think we need to have
some commitments today about what people are willing to
stand up for and what they're not.
I really think you need to rethink your
reticence to take a vote, because I'm afraid that people
are not only going to walk away from this, but we're going
to reopen the disclosure requirements. That's going to be
reopened. Everything is going to be reopened.
And Norm, I urge you to start taking votes, and
I also -- I'm very happy to resubmit my proposal that I
submitted on September 1. I've redone it. I've made it
even more moderate. I think it's an incredibly moderate
document. I've got 30 copies for everybody. I'll be
happy to go down principle by principle and take votes.
We can do that.
MR. MOONVES: Gigi, yes, you could do that. You
could make as strong a document as you want, and I will
write an entire dissenting opinion to the entire document
and by the way, and I will use the press as well. We can
do that. We can do that as well as you have in the past
few weeks, okay.
So you know, we are trying to reach a consensus,
a compromise on certain things. On September 9 we had a
document that the cochairs put out for discussion. I feel
we have gone so far away from that document and yes, there
was a consensus, I agree, and I will use that word, at the
last meeting. That September 9 document that Norm and I
wrote was not strong enough, I agree. There was a
consensus in the room for minimum mandatory requirements.
What we have here is so oppressive, and I will
use Paul's word, that has gone so far -- and by the way,
it addresses -- I don't know why we even need another
document. We might as well use the Goodmon document,
because frankly it goes into what your committee did in
terms of community outreach and accountability.
It goes into diversity of employment, which we
have another document on. It goes into free political
programming, which is another section, closed captioning
in another section, multicasting in another section, and
so I don't know why we need another document that covers
everything. That basically covers everything. I didn't
realize that subcommittee was empowered to basically deal
with everything that the committee is dealing with.
In addition, as Paul mentioned, the restriction
of X amount of PSA's regardless of your station size,
regardless of your location, in specific time period,
basically does not give the broadcaster any leeway
whatsoever, any credit for the fact that certain markets
are different, that Bill Duhamel is very different than
Paul La Camera, where the station in Boston can say, every
station needs to do X amount of programming and PSA's
during prime time, when, where, how, and what is not what
When I left the meeting I said to Norm Ornstein,
who felt very strongly about on the other side, and I
respect that -- and I really do respect the fact that
certain people feel like there's necessary minimum
mandatory requirements, I really do.
At that meeting I said to Norm, I don't know if
I can get behind it, but we better leave it as general as
possible so I can try to get my arms around it.
This went so far the other way that I threw up
my hands as soon as I received it. I said, who empowered
them to do that, and frankly I felt a little -- and hold
it. Hold it. Let me finish, then you can speak.
I felt a little bit sand-bagged -- excuse the
use of the term -- when I got Harold Crump's letter that
said he wasn't part of the process to the extent that he
would like to be. There was no way where it stated that
everybody wasn't on the call. In fact, one of the
committee members wasn't there at all and, in fact, it
appeared like this was a document that the entire
so in terms of process, it also was a bit
annoying, and I agree that we shouldn't get hung up on
process. That's not the thing. However, that was
something that did take me by surprise when I received
Harold's letter, because it wasn't presented as such.
Those are my problems with this document.
MR. GOODMON: I put this in 6 months ago, and I
thought when the committee at the last meeting said we
want to do minimum standards, that we were supposed to
work from the document that we had. I mean --
MR. ORNSTEIN: Let me just go back to, since all
these wonderful things were said about the September 9
document, I would urge you all to compare the
recommendations that we have here with that September 9
document. There have been significant changes, but most
of the sections have changed hardly at all, and I'm
assuming, and I hope I can take forward that the consensus
that we had that all the nice things people have said
continue to surround that.
There are two changes of great significance in
this latest document from the September 9 document that
flowed from our September 9 meeting. One is the section
on mandatory minimum standards requirements and, if you
notice, what we have in the report itself in the
recommendations is less than a page on that.
It talks about, as I said in the separation, the
issue of whether there should be mandatory minimums, not
the specifics of what should be there.
The second is, we revised our section on pay or
play because of the very vigorous dissent, and articulate
dissent, and passionate dissent raised about that issue
around the table, which made it clear we did not have a
Everything else in that document reflects minor
changes that take into account individual comments, and so
I'm assuming that we continue to have consensus around the
rest of it and we have these areas of disagreement.
We need to discuss whether the disagreement on
the mandatory minimum standards is over the broader
concept or the specifics here which are in the appendix as
a suggested way to go and, of course, we can add another
suggested way to go as an option if we want, or we could
change those things.
MR. DILLER: Let's go backwards. Let's start if
we can with those things, Mr. Chairman, with again
specificity that you feel are not either flexible enough
or sensible enough, and let's talk about those
specifically if we can and see if we can reach consensus
on that, or at least -- well, let's just leave it there.
Why don't we do that. Why don't we narrow it down.
MR. CRUMP: Okay. To begin with, from my own
personal view, when we start out talking about the way
this thing is titled, minimum public interest requirements
for digital television stations, to me it ought to be,
minimum public interest for digital television stations,
so when we get down to requirements we get down to the
definition of what requirements are and how we go.
And I guess what I kept throwing in, as Karen
and Jim will tell you, I kept throwing in proposals, and
we got it back here, proposed range, proposed this.
I have no hang-up with proposing to broadcasters
what minimums we would suggest to them. What I have is
the hang-up that Paul told us so eloquently about, the
fact that if we start trying to pound them into the ground
and going back to where we were before we're not looking
at a level playing field because the world that existed
back then does not exist today, either from a competitive
standpoint nor from a practical standpoint.
We changed a number of things as we went through
to reflect that, as we went on. We could go through the
nitty gritty, but that's basically -- that's basically it.
That's basically where my feeling is, and I'm sure that a
number of you here on the committee totally disagree with
that, and I know that Jim totally disagrees with it.
MS. STRAUSS: Harold, do you oppose having
something like attachment A, which are intended to be
MR. DILLER: Let me just do one thing, because I
just asked the question because it was stated that Jim
totally disagrees with that, so I thought it was
reasonable to say to Jim, do you totally disagree with
that, which he says no, so if that's the case, you know,
we keep dealing with this in fuzz terms.
MR. GOODMON: The first time I'm really working
on not losing focus on what we're talking about, because
you believe somehow that I didn't do this committee right
I don't accept that. I talked to everybody I
could. I tried to get everybody together, and I believed,
I honestly believed that everything that Harold wanted in
this report was in here, and if it's not, Harold, I'm
I never submitted this report with the
suggestion that this is it, that everything in here -- and
one other thing, further, I didn't have anything else to
work from but the September 9 report that I submitted in
September. I thought that is what we were supposed to
MR. DILLER: Is there a substantive issue, and
if there's a substantive issue --
MR. LA CAMERA: There are substantive issues and
philosophical issues, and the largest philosophical issue
is having the Government dictate program content and
program time periods. That's been debated for a
MR. DILLER: Let's get around --
MR. LA CAMERA: You asked for specificity.
MR. DILLER: That's fair, but I don't believe as
I read this quote, program content and program time
periods, I mean, this is a very broad swath.
MR. LA CAMERA: Look at Attachment A. There are
2 hours of public affairs programs. 1 hour of that is to
air between 6:00 p.m. and midnight.
MR. DILLER: Let me ask a question. If it
wasn't 6:00 p.m. to midnight, but if it had less, so to
speak, restrictive hours of some kind -- is it in the
concept? I mean, if you say there's got to be some public
interest programming --
MR. LA CAMERA: I don't want to be an
obstructionist. I hate to be, and I'm sorry, because it's
a bit out of character for me, but an enhancement of
public service for broadcasters, I totally agree with you,
if there are minimum definitions to that, I don't have
problems with that as well.
MR. DILLER: The time period may be inflexible.
that may be true. It may be an inflexible standard, in
which case I would think we all should deal with that.
MR. LA CAMERA: What those obligations are I
think need to be reasonable and responsible, and I don't
think that the solution to this is to romanticize or re-
embrace the past, because again this is a very different
content environment and a very different economic
environment, you know that better than anybody, that we're
currently operating in, and I don't think this is
reflective of that at all, and sensitive to it. It just
MS. CHARREN: I had a little discussion before
the break with Barry about stations with public interest
obligations, and if that fulfills the mandate. The more
specific the recommendations, the more I can accept that
as a reasonable approach to thinking about serving the
If I'm going to give up some of the things that
I'm thinking we need to do, this kind of a document is the
minimum idea that I would look at to make that reasonable.
If this is a feel for what the public interest can be on
every station, and we're going to go to a public interest
requirement to every station, this is the kind of document
I would think we would vote on, and it would make me much
more amenable to the idea that if broadcasters are serving
the public interest in their multiplex stations, that you
can go along with an idea like that.
If we don't spell it out my feeling is that --
MR. DILLER: The question is to spell it out in
the kind of specificity that everyone can live with in the
practical world, so if there is an issue of two
restrictive time periods --
MS. CHARREN: I'm agreeing with you. I'm
agreeing with that, but not to undo the whole bloody
MR. DILLER: I don't know if anybody is saying
to undo it. I'm just trying to get it down to the kind
MS. CHARREN: i'm not arguing with you, Barry.
I was agreeing with you.
MR. DILLER: I'm just trying to get it to the
kind of specifics that everybody would agree to the work
of the purpose of it all and be livable.
MS. CHARREN: And then vote on it. As Gigi
said, I think we have to say yes to something in this
MR. MASUR: At the risk of repeating myself from
an earlier meeting, I'm afraid we're back in a negotiating
mode, and I just want to bring that up to people. I hope
that's part of what's going on here.
My understanding, though I was not intimately
involved at all in the preparation of this report or the
previous report, my understanding is that these are being
presented as ways to reach consensus, and I think what
Barry is trying to do here is in that same direction.
I want to just say that I believe that if this
is being looked at by anyone as an opportunity to
negotiate out some of the consensus that has been arrived
at, what we may end up with is what Gigi was saying, which
is a much stronger report coming from a majority of this
committee, which will not be reflective of the feelings of
many members of the committee but could possibly achieve a
majority, and I don't think that's what Norm or Les has
been trying to get us to, I think.
And we've all stepped back from our individual
positions in order to try and achieve that, and I know the
broadcasters have as well. I'm not finger-pointing at
anybody. I'm just saying that as this conversation goes
on I hope we can focus on, if we can turn out a report
that is consensus, maybe with some dissent, that would be
This is an attempt at consensus, not anybody's
idea of what the best solution is or the most perfect
solution from our individual points of view, and I'm
really worried that too hard of a push from one end may
cause a reaction from the other end which is going to get
us out of where we are now and put us in a position where
we're going to be really voting on what may be a majority
as opposed to a consensus.
MR. ORNSTEIN: I think that's right, and what I
would like to do if we can is to isolate our disagreements
and discuss them, and I don't have any problem with
individuals taking a position that there shouldn't be any
mandatory minimums at all, however they may be framed,
whether they be as vague as could be -- you ought to do
public interest programming or you ought to do public
service announcements -- or as specific.
Neither do I have a problem if people say having
minimums is perfectly fine, but this specific kind of
approach is a disaster. It takes us back to the
seventies. It can't be done. It ham-strings stations.
If we can, in that context, even isolate further
within the concept of what kind of mandatory minimums for
those who think there should be some, and see if we can
either come up with one suggestion, and remember we are
coming up with a suggestion. We're not putting this out
there to be implemented. It's going to have to be
implemented, as we say, very explicitly, anything, through
a process that will be done through the FCC in conjunction
with the stations.
If we have a consensus suggestion that may
differ from what Jim Goodmon and his committee put out,
that's fine. I don't think he would object to that. Or
if we end up with a separate document, even, that is a
completely different approach to be taken, that could also
be utilized. That's fine.
But I would associate myself with Richard's
remarks. We need to be careful here to make sure that we
don't lose what has been an extraordinarily broad
agreement across a broad range of areas, and have that
bleed over into what is a very deep disagreement in these
MR. BENTON: I wrote to you, and it's been
distributed to the committee, a memo of October 29. The
second paragraph about the minimum standards, look no
further than section 2 of the executive order that created
Quotes, the committee shall report to the Vice
President on the public interest obligations digital
television broadcasters should assume. As the report
reads now, we're merely stating that broadcasters should
have obligations, not which obligations they should
I think to implement your suggestion, Norm, we
have essentially the five-page or four-page and three-
line paper that came out that was sent out with the draft
report, and we also have copies of the two-and-a-half page
report that Jim passed out on September 9, 2 months ago,
which essentially this is simply an application of, so I
mean, the outline was on the table 2 months ago.
There are extra copies on line, so people can
look at the outline as it originally was and the now
fleshed-out report that he has submitted.
I mean, we can continue talking about agreeing
in principle or not to this, but I agree with Barry, let's
go through the specifics and see where we are. If we
disagree on the specifics, let's flesh that out and see
where the disagreement is, but the idea that we should be
in principle against any standard it seems to me is a
violation of this committee's main charter and mission.
MR. DILLER: Can I ask it broadly? The first
part, the part without the attachment A, is everybody in
agreement on that part? Is the attachment A the issue,
because the attachment A is fairly long and only has a few
key points in it.
MS. STRAUSS: Let me just make a comment on
that, because that's exactly what I was trying to get at.
What I wanted to describe is what attachment A was
supposed to be.
MR. DILLER: Before you describe it, let's at
least see if it is isolated to attachment A. If it's
isolated to attachment A, that's one thing. If it's not,
then you've got a bigger problem.
So let me ask the question.
DR. DUHAMEL: You're talking about the minimum
public interest requirements.
MR. DILLER: The body, without -- excuse me,
without attachment A, just the body.
MR. ORNSTEIN: To reflect the difference, the
body in the area of public service announcements, to pick
one example, says a minimum number of public service
announcements should be required, with an emphasis placed
on public service produced PSA's addressing the
community's needs. A certain percentage of these PSA's
should be mandated to run in mandated times and day parts.
Then it gets into this percentage and this hour,
this number in this hour and that number in that hour.
MR. GOODMON: Originally this at Harold's
request, and I thought it was a good idea. You notice
we emphasize the word, proposed, and you notice we change
from the previous report that had specific numbers to
MS. STRAUSS: Originally we talked about having
it in the body.
MR. DILLER: You do have what you've got, which
is separate from attachment A. Are there issues within
that that are objectionable? Les.
MR. MOONVES: There are issues in this that are
covered in other parts of our document that I think should
be eliminated from this.
MR. DILLER: What does that mean? What is that
MR. MOONVES: Barry, behave yourself. Don't be
MR. DILLER: What I was saying is, when you say
it's in other parts of the body of the thing, I don't know
what we're talking about.
MR. MOONVES: For instance, as we deal with free
political programming, should that be included in this
appendix? My answer is no. My opinion is no.
MR. GOODMON: I point out that if you look at
the proposed minimum standards and you look in other
sections of the document there are inconsistencies.
MR. MOONVES: Okay. Gigi's committee.
MR. DILLER: Can I ask a question, a technical
question? There are inconsistencies. Do you plan to
resolve those inconsistencies?
MR. GOODMON: In my view, that was today's work.
MR. DILLER: And what would the inconsistency be
in that regard that you've just named?
MR. MOONVES: Barry, since we just dealt with a
report from Gigi Sohn, okay, and I haven't had an
opportunity to look at all of that to compare A and B, why
should there be another section about accountability when
we just dealt with accountability?
MR. DILLER: No, I'm asking if there's an
inconsistency between what's contained here and what's
there, and Mr. Goodmon says, of course we're going to
resolve the inconsistency, if we can say what it is.
MR. LA CAMERA: Multicasting is an example.
This document is not consistent with a larger document on
MR. DILLER: Do you plan to conform it so that
it is, and if so, would there be any issues with regard to
MR. GOODMON: That's a good question. In my
discussion with Norm about that, there -- should the
suggested minimum standards conform to other ideas in the
report, and I think Norm's view is, he wants other views
in the other sections.
MR. MOONVES: There are paragraphs A through J.
Over 50 percent are covered in other parts of our
MR. GLASER: The issue isn't that they are
covered. The issue is they're inconsistent if this
document were consistent and basically a cross-hatch, that
wouldn't be a problem, would it? It's just the
MR. MOONVES: It is the inconsistencies. That's
number 1. This was about minimum standards, mandatory
minimum standards which are dealt with elsewhere.
Now, I guess, Rob, the answer is yes, if they
were exactly the same, dealing with accountability, if it
is exactly the same as the report of Gigi's committee, I
guess that's fine.
MR. DILLER: Would this committee really want to
publish a thing, a document which is inconsistent inside
of its boundaries, because I would say the answer to that
has got to be no, so since otherwise we're all -- I mean,
we all should not be even minimally paid attention to.
MR. MOONVES: Well, that may be the case, but
Barry, if we are dealing with pages later on in our
document that deal with free political programming and
what we're going to do in that area, shouldn't we then
remove that from minimum public requirements?
MR. DILLER: No. You should just be consistent
with it. I don't understand how that argument can hold.
And let me just make the point, then I will get
off. I'm sorry. Take my microphone away.
But what you're saying is that if you have it
there you should, of course, have it over there, so long
as it's consistent.
MS. CHARREN: I suggest if you have it there you
can take it out of the other place, but if you're going to
take it out, don't take it out of mandatory.
MR. DILLER: If you have it, it's broadly
written and you don't have it as part of the minimum
standards, I would suggest there's a bit of duplicity
engaged in the proceedings, and I think that will remove
all credibility, so if you agree, if it is in one place
without being redundant --
MR. MOONVES: I do not share that it is
duplicitous, or if you're devoting paragraphs or
paragraphs in other areas, why is it necessary that it be
included in the minimum standards?
MR. DILLER: Because if you agree with it, what
would be wrong with it?
MR. GLASER: It seems to me that's really the
question. I think we all agree on the set theory idea
that there shouldn't be something in here that is more
restrictive, or goes beyond the bounds of the particular
The question is, should the minimum standards
represent a form of teeth associated with the specific
recommendations, and I think there might be some cases
where the recommendation is not clear enough, but I think
as per the previous discussion about multiplexing for a
number of us, if the minimum standards was the place
that's sort of represented where we were actually causing
implementation to happen, I think that's a good principle,
perhaps not in all cases, but in a number of cases.
I certainly agree that we shouldn't go beyond
the recommendations in here, and clearly resolve that
there are inconsistencies as we talk about the political
programming or other issues makes a lot of sense, and I
don't think there should be anything deemed precedential
in here prior to us having that discussion about the
The notion that the standards represent a form
of teeth would seem to be a valuable thing for us to do.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Let me just, to clarify, these
recommendations should be consistent and coherent, but
they are not mutually inclusive even as they are not
In other words, this is not a set of
recommendations where if you pull one out the rest fall
down like a house of cards, so in our section on political
discourse we talk about a lot of voluntary things, and it
is quite possible that you could do much or all of what
you want to do on a voluntary basis. That doesn't mean
you can't include something similar. Frankly, I wasn't --
MR. DILLER: So long as it's consistent with
what you write broadly or voluntarily, that your minimum
standards are not inconsistent with that.
MR. ORNSTEIN: And that's one reason why, if
some individuals don't want to accept the concept of
minimum standards, or don't want to accept this, it
doesn't mean you can't accept the rest of the report, so
you can have things mentioned in several different places
because there are a lot of different ways to cut at each
of these areas, and that's partly what we're seeing.
We're offering a lot of different options.
So I think we're a little bit disingenuous, and
this is, I guess, another fight in burying the mandatory
minimum free time in an appendix and not mentioning it. I
think it needs to be mentioned in the body of the report.
Now, that obviously is an area where we're going
to have divergent views, but my guess is that there's a
majority on this advisory committee, if not whatever you
define as consensus, for some mandatory minimum free time,
but there's a whole other fight about whether these
categories should actually be in the body of the report.
But I think at the very least if you put this
attachment in the appendices you have to mention somewhere
in the body of this thing section 3, that there's a
significant majority or significant numbers of members of
the advisory committee do want some sort of mandated
minimum free time for political discourse.
MS. CHARREN: Did what Gigi just brought up come
into the discussion? I think all of these minimum
standards should be part of the body of our report and not
as an appendix.
I mean, it just means saying them in this long
document instead of -- because what happens is, people
lose the appendices, and not people who are making rules
for the country, but people who read it.
MR. MOONVES: If you want to add that to the
body of the report, then there's more chance there may be
dissent to the entire report, Peggy, and if that's what
you want, that's fine.
MS. CHARREN: I think that is engaging in a kind
of duplicity. We're going to put it in an appendix, but
we hope you don't look at it. I mean, if you're going to
say it, say it. If you're going to say it, say it. I
feel very strongly abut the mandatory minimums. If I'm
going to sign on to this --
MR. MOONVES: We've now gone from September 9 to
an appendix to the body of the report.
MS. CHARREN: You've got it.
MR. MOONVES: Now you're verging on my ability
to support this report at all.
MS. CHARREN: But you could have supported it as
MR. MOONVES: Possibly.
MS. CHARREN: Because that means it's not part
of the report.
MR. MOONVES: I'll tell you why, because I may
be able to, a) write a dissent to an appendix, and that
would be another appendix, or it's going -- Peggy, when I
said before, there's a tendency now to pile on, that is
exactly what I mean.
MR. MINOW: I have enormous respect and
friendship for our chairman --
MR. MOONVES: Uh-oh.
MR. ORNSTEIN: We'd better both brace ourselves
MR. MINOW: And I've been chairman, although a
lot of things -- I know the job of a chairman, the two of
you is to try to find a consensus, but if a consensus does
not exist, and I believe that is the fact, then you have
to resolve it by votes. That's the only way, and the way
we do things in this country. We take votes, and at some
point I suggest to the two of you we have to do that.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Let me take you back to what
Richard, a very skilled negotiator, said earlier. We will
have votes taken in the form of people signing on to this
report or not signing on to this report.
We have two ways we can go with this. We can
come up with a document in which we vote on everything and
include everything in the body of it and end up with a
sizeable number of people walking away from the whole
thing and hope that the strength of what we have -- and
let me finish, Newt -- will convince people this is an
advisory committee, all we do is make recommendations, or
we can try and figure out a way to focus on areas where,
despite our differences, we all agree and isolate some
smaller areas of disagreement.
And the path that you're suggesting leads us, I
believe -- and I think Les concurs with me -- down a path
that is going to take the first form that will render us
irrelevant, and I don't want to be rendered irrelevant,
and we have moved very far from that to this point, and I
think that is not a good path to take if we can avoid it.
MR. GLASER: I've a question about these
advisory committees. Is it the case that they generally
speaking strive for a consensus rather than stronger
majority positions with clearly articulated specific
dissents, because for instance, we know that anything we
say with regard to must-carry of anything other than the
primary channel will be fiercely contested by cable, who
would point out that nobody from the cable industry is on
this commission, and that this panel did not have a
charter that was directly related to nonbroadcast.
MR. MOONVES: On the contrary, Mr. Diller has
quite a large presence in cable.
MR. GLASER: But you're not here as part of
NTCA, but for yourself, so I guess my question is --
MR. DILLER: I certainly don't represent the
NTCA, although I do pay dues, but as we know, that ain't
got anything to do with nothing.
MR. GLASER: We know the NTCA would object to
what we do here, but that wouldn't force us to say we must
not touch must-carry, so by extension, why would we not
feel comfortable having parts of the report not have
consensus within the committee? Why is it black and white
and not sort of gray?
MR. ORNSTEIN: Well, it isn't necessarily, and
I'm assuming you're going to have parts of the report that
don't have consensus. It's a question of how we get
there. There are a lot of different ways advisory
committees can go. You can start out with an advisory
committee that is stacked entirely in one direction
because what you want to do is have a fire breather
Or you could have an advisory committee that
makes an attempt to have at least a broad representation
across a number of areas, although not necessarily every
area, cable not being fulsomely represented here.
When this advisory committee was put together,
it was made to be an inclusive committee, and the clear
suggestion and direction that flows from that is to try to
reach I hope not a weak consensus, a strong consensus,
with some areas isolated.
It seems to me the great value that we will
have, and what will make this report resonate, is that we
have a lot of imaginative ideas here that have managed to
draw in people from the public interest community and the
broadcast community who normally don't agree on anything.
That has taken very substantial movement on the
part of both sides, and they're getting pressure and flak
from their ends and wings, a very substantial amount, and
at both ends I think a great deal of commendation is owed
to those who are taking that kind of flak, but it's for a
good end, and I think we should strive to achieve that
MR. DILLER: Mr. Chairman, let me ask a
question. Would it be possible for us to do the
following, which is to say that there is consensus,
complete -- no. Now I have to come back a bit, that there
is broad consensus that there should be minimum standards,
that there is a suggestion for specificity of minimum
standards, and it is set forth here.
There are some broadcasters who think that's
okay, and there are some broadcasters who think it's not
appropriately flexible, and that in fact in a way we could
bifurcate the issue by saying those two things and have
consensus on all.
I.e., consensus, we can get away with doing it
without a demand for actual vote-taking, and to get you
into a position which I am totally respectful of, which is
where you say you want something that is a recommendation
that does not so force the issue that in fact you have to
have people repudiate the whole.
So if it is possible to say that 1) there should
be minimum standards, 2) there is reasonably a difference
of opinion as to what those minimum standards are, and it
is not necessarily our job in life to vote on and resolve
the exact specificity of those minimum suggestions.
Here's one take of it, and here's some dissention to it,
and here it is. Now go in an official capacity and write
a rule and make a law.
Would that work?
MR. ORNSTEIN: It works for me.
MR. LA CAMERA: Norm, you said something before,
and Barry this follows up on what you said. You suggested
there would be some prole that rather than engaging in a
vote may not be able to sign on to the final document, and
that would be unfortunate to isolate five or six people
out, however many there might be.
If the vote is on minimum standards, I mean, I
can only speak as an individual, I'd be comfortable on
Unfortunately, minimum standards has been
defined for our consideration right now by appendix A.
Now, Gigi and Richard have described appendix A as a
compromise. It's not a compromise. It's an extreme
document, at least I think in the view of most
It's really unfortunate that Robert isn't here,
because Robert has spoken in the past and I think quite
passionately about the hope not only that there would be
broad consensus coming out of this group in our document,
but that somehow or another the larger broadcasting
industry, at least the progressive elements within that
industry, would be able to seize upon this document and
it's recommendations and move forward.
I think we have to be realistic, and again, this
is what Robert has talked about in the past as well.
Appendix A is for all intents and purposes a declaration
of war with the broadcast industry. It's going to result
in legal challenges, constitutional challenges, public
relations battle, and again that may be of no concern or
little concern to the group as a whole or the cochairman,
but it's again something that at one time we were
concerned with, and I think we have to give consideration
to as well.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Getting to what we have in the
body of the report, forgetting any appendix, are you
agreeable to that?
Let's even assume we had no appendices.
MR. MOONVES: You mean attachment A?
MR. ORNSTEIN: No, I'm saying what we have in
the body of the report. We have four paragraphs on
MR. LA CAMERA: Given the fact that you should
be engaged in those activities at a minimum level, no, I
have no problem with that. Some of the specific language
in those four paragraphs, because they're reflective of
appendix A, I do have a problem with.
MR. ORNSTEIN: I'm not even looking at that.
I'm looking at what we have in the body of the
recommendations. Turn to section 3 of the report, page 8
MR. CRUZ: Go to page 8 and 9.
MR. ORNSTEIN: And in fact, Paul, the last two
paragraphs there make the linkage very explicitly to must-
carry. It's the first two paragraphs that simply
MR. LA CAMERA: I don't have a problem with that
and, again, on the must-carry issue, aside from being
rational, reasonable, and responsible, I think we have to
be realistic as well, and again, I don't know whether that
must-carry issue, this is the appropriate venue for
getting to that, and whether we would have any effect on
it whatsoever. I don't think it is going to be an
effective quid pro quo, if that's what you're suggesting.
MR. DILLER: What's not an effective quid pro
MR. LA CAMERA: Our recommending that if
broadcasters accept mandatory minimums, that through the
influence of this committee they can look forward to a
must-carry provision. I don't think that is where that
decision's going to be made.
MR. DILLER: But they certainly have a right,
one would think, you would think, that it is reasonable to
say that if broadcasters have minimum standards, that in
fact it is reasonable to say that must carry legislation
should conform to that.
MR. LA CAMERA: Philosophically I'm in total
agreement with that, but I don't think we should kid
ourselves that we would leave this meeting thinking that
if broadcasters meet the minimum must-carry -- I mean,
minimum mandatory requirements, that must-carry is going
to come with it hand-in-hand. It's not.
MR. GLASER: But Paul, the recommendation of
this committee is what is at stake here, and not the
eventual legislative process or the regulatory process.
We don't control those.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Let's leave the must-carry issue
for the moment to the side and focus on the simple
question of minimum public interest requirements. What if
we just include what we have in the body of the report and
leave it at that, and let others debate the specifics.
MR. MOONVES: I could accept that.
MR. DILLER: I would say at a minimum, but I
would also say that there's nothing wrong with having an
appendix that says this is a suggestion for a series of
specific minimum requirements on which there is not
unanimity, that there is disagreement, and state where the
I think that's okay, too.
MR. MOONVES: Barry, I'm not necessarily drawing
the line there. I fear once you let the genie out of the
bottle, and that is what it is, it goes beyond that.
I can accept what's in the body of the piece on
accepting that there should be minimum public interest
requirements, which I think is a stretch for most
MR. DILLER: Isn't it reasonable, Les, and again
this is a recommendation, isn't it reasonable, once you
say that there should be minimum requirements, to say that
there was lively and heated discussion over the
specificity of it, and that there is a section that deals
with that, and here are the arguments pro and con, and
deal with it, as you're going to have to deal with it, in
a legislative forum.
MR. MOONVES: Is it reasonable? Yes. Do I feel
most of these things, a) are better served in other parts
of the document -- over 50 percent of that is happening
whether it be your document, whether it be in terms of
free political programming, which we haven't even dealt
with yet today, whether the accountability, if it is a
general document, about public service announcements and
public affairs programs, fine, but multi-casting is also
dealt with elsewhere, closed captioning will be dealt with
MR. GLASER: Let me propose a modification to
Barry's idea, which is, if the recommendation, or if the
appendix that many people but not everybody sign on to as
the property, that there's nothing in it that exceeds any
of the recommendations of the body of the text or areas,
but it is simply a question of whether we choose to have
mandatory minimums need enforcement, does that solve the
issue, because I think then we have a question of whether
the body of the report is specific or not in other areas,
but as long as there's nothing in the appendix that goes
beyond the area of recommendations, that would seem to me
to be the logical way to cut it.
MR. MOONVES: You have to understand something,
Rob. When you put it under minimum public interest
requirements for digital television stations it does, in
fact, go further than what would be in the body of the
report. By being labeled as that, whether it be an
appendix or not, it does carry much more weight.
Now, whether that's acceptable or not, I do not
know, I really don't, but attachment A is certainly
unacceptable, numbers, time periods, how much, and when
MR. GLASER: Let me just be clear for a second
so the committee can know what I'm proposing, then we can
move on if this is a blind alley.
Simply saying that, for instance, in the
political area, it says one of the two options is 5
minutes a day for the preceding 30 or 60 days.
If we decide when we talk about the political
programming issue not to include that in the body of the
report, it would follow that it shouldn't be in the
appendix, but if we decide to put it in the body of the
report, then it would be fair game to be included in the
appendix, the appendix, with a stipulation that not
everybody would be necessarily signing on to having the
MR. DILLER: That sounds interesting.
MR. LA CAMERA: But I'm happy to cite an
example, and there's no such thing as unanimity, but there
was unanimity many months ago on that issue, and the
strength of that issue was that it allowed great
flexibility on the part of the broadcasters both in the
time periods and in the content of what is being
suggested, so I mean, I think that would be a step
backward if suddenly we removed that from the body of our
recommendations and put it in the appendix.
MR. GLASER: I'm not saying put it in the
appendix. I'm not saying only put it in the appendix.
I'm saying, put it in the appendix additionally if, or
having it be a candidate for that if it is in the body as
well, so the appendix is a cross-hatch with regard to
minimums. It doesn't introduce new recommendations.
DR. DUHAMEL: It was voluntary when it was in
the body, and that's the key.
MR. GOODMON: Look, the appendix, the main body
of the report, I've lost sight of what we're working on.
There's a group on this committee that believes we should
have minimum standards and, as a matter of fact, support
attachment A, and I worked really hard to get support for
MR. MOONVES: Who did you really work hard with,
your two committee members, one of whom is disclaiming
that he was totally part of this.
MR. GOODMON: Okay, I'm sorry, I didn't work
hard on it.
MR. MOONVES: Jim, I'm not claiming you didn't
MR. GOODMON: You're attacking me, not my ideas.
MR. MOONVES: No, I'm attacking your ideas.
MR. GOODMON: Let's stay with the ideas. All
I'm saying is, we've got two different ideas here, minimum
MR. MOONVES: And I'm trying to work out a
compromise. That's what I'm trying to do.
MR. GOODMON: My suggestion is, we do both. We
put them both in the report, or both in the appendix,
because that's what we have.
MR. MOONVES: We may not get a consensus, then.
MR. DILLER: if it is acceptable to have in the
main report what we have all agreed on, and if it is also
acceptable in the appendix to put the appendix in but then
to describe the debate in the appendix, which is all
reasonable, and to the point of the appendix, which is, it
says it, and there is debate about it.
Now you can't get away from it. As Mr. Minow
says, you're hung there, or on the other side.
Now, the only way not to be, is that you're not
going to resolve it. You're not going to get any kind
of -- forget unanimity. You're not going to get anything
but some kicks if you try and get the appendix to be a
document that everybody's going to support, they won't
What they will do, though, is support the body,
which is the main work, and in the appendix it is
appropriate to say, here is one person, or nine people's
suggestion for how to translate the body into minimum
standards written this way, with real specificity.
However, broadcasters have said the following
things with relation thereto, it's impractical, et cetera,
et cetera. Let it sit there. That's enough for this
group to do.
I mean, everybody's worked very, very hard to
get all of this into one thing that will have coherence.
That would have that.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Richard.
MR. MASUR: Just to support this, I think if we
say, if we come to an agreement in the body that there
should be mandatory minimum requirements, and then in no
way describe even the areas in which they should occur,
it's going to seem bizarre, so if we look at the appendix
as being descriptive of the statement of the principle, as
described in the body, then as far as we can get consensus
we should go to that length.
In other words, if we can get consensus up to
the point of including an appendix which describes
basically how they should be applied without the specifics
of the attachment A, then that should be included as a
If then attachment A is attached with the
descriptive that Barry just described, where there's a
tremendous divergence of opinion, or if it's decided in
the course of the conversation that we could reach
consensus about this if we don't have attachment A in here
at all, then that is something we should discuss.
Perhaps we should, but I'm saying that's another
possibility, if we could get full consensus on the
principles, and if we can't, then I think attachment A
should be in.
MR. DILLER: There may be full consensus minus
one. That is possible, because there's minus one in the
room. But let me ask it this way, and I understand your
issue about a vote, but let me say that I do not hear a
single dissenter towards the body of the work saying there
should be minimum public interest standards.
Now, if there is a dissent in this room right
now, let's here it. If not, then we will wait for dissent
coming from a new shooter. Is there?
MR. MOONVES: You're asking for acceptance of
minimum public interest requirements within the body of
the report as written. However, you cannot totally
isolate what is going to go on later on.
MR. DILLER: Yes, I am. I am divorcing it. I
absolutely must at this point.
MR. MOONVES: But Barry, if you said to me,
okay, and I can only talk for myself now, that number 4
will be in the body of work, minimum public interest
requirements, however, it will not be an appendix, there
will not be an attachment A, I would say to you, yes, and
I'm saying if that is what we would be dealing
with, minimum public interest requirements in its entirety
in the report, I can say to you, yes, I could support it.
MR. DILLER: That's all I've asked.
MR. MOONVES: No. You've gone further than
MR. DILLER: No, I haven't.
MR. MOONVES: Yes, you have. Excuse me. Then
you've said in the appendix we will agree to disagree.
That's a different animal. I am not saying I will not
accept it. I'm saying if this is all we're going to put
MR. DILLER: That's totally valid, except all
I'm trying to do now is to say that there is complete,
people in the room, unanimity on part 1.
There is, if in fact there are attached, you may
have another issue, not with regard to part 1, but with
regard to the attachment. Okay, fine. Isn't that what
MR. MOONVES: Wait. That's not a fair way to
negotiate. You're saying, okay, let's -- if you agree
with me on part 1, I'll leave part 2 to decide, and we'll
talk about that later.
If you're saying you're going to eliminate
part 2, I could agree to part 1, but if you're saying,
okay, I want you to agree to part 1 and we'll discuss part
2 later, that I'm not -- that I will not agree to.
MR. GLASER: I think you're both being very
articulate as to your positions. I have one other thought
that may or may not help and may simply complicate.
One area that I seek, after discussion, to
address in the document is the almost entire lack of any
statement about the long-term desirability of harmonizing
public interest obligations across media, across the
distribution media, be it satellite, cable, Internet, or
I think our report is relatively sound on that,
and in the context of us having beefed up treatment of
that topic, anything we were talking about here pertaining
to the context of that kind of harmonization, does that
help the broadcasters here feel better about this concept
of having some type of mandatory standards?
MR. LA CAMERA: It's probably not going to
MR. DILLER: Of course, would any broadcaster
like that? Of course they would, but is it realistic?
Not only is it not realistic, I think, Rob -- I think -- I
mean, the problem is, is that there is a relationship only
in this area between a free license and X.
That is not true, necessarily -- it's certainly
not true in satellite, it's certainly not true in cable,
so I don't know that you can make it, so to speak, across
the spectrum, nor do I think -- and I don't know, Mr.
Chairman, you know far better than I that it even begins
to be the province of what you're supposed to be doing.
MR. MOONVES: I told you, we did have a cable
person here on this committee.
MR. DILLER: No, believe me, I've made the
MR. ORNSTEIN: It is tricky ground for us to
tread on. We do, in fact, mention in a number of places,
other media, and we've suggested, for example, where we
talk about a voluntary set of standards, that the same
process ought to work with the cable industry and the
satellite industry. They ought to develop their own sets
of standards and operate in that fashion.
Very explicitly, our mandate is to deal with
digital television broadcasters, so we have to be careful
about how far we tread.
MR. GLASER: But it seems to me if we can say
that digital television should be subject to must-carry,
when we talk about the intersection between digital
broadcasting and the real world reality that 70 percent of
the signals get into the home through cable, surely
there's a corollary set of other real world
MR. ORNSTEIN: We have to grapple with that and
figure out the best way to handle it.
MS. SOHN: Norm, it was said in the beginning
there were going to be some areas where we achieve
consensus and some where we can't, and if you think we can
pull something together, that's fine, but it seems to me
there's a significant number of people around this table
who are not going to be comfortable with this section 4
without some specifics somewhere. I mean, that's just not
going to happen.
I'm not going to sign on to a document that
says, yeah, mandatory minimum standards, but we're not
even going to mention the categories in which they should
fall. That's crazy.
MR. MOONVES: I didn't say we wouldn't
necessarily mention the categories.
MS. SCOTT: That's where I've been trying to
head. There's a medium ground here. It doesn't have to
be as specific as attachment A or appendix A, or whatever
the letter of the alphabet is, but prior to that in the
report there are some subject heads some of which you
don't agree with, some of which you do, but if we could
pick from those subject heads, those are the things that
broadcasters are part of the minimum requirements.
They should have community outreach. They
should have accountability.
MR. MOONVES: We've already agreed on that.
MS. SCOTT: But now we're arguing about we don't
even want to include that.
MS. SOHN: I reiterate what I just said. This
may be one of the areas where we're just going to have to
have a stronger statement for people wanting the
requirements and wanting the specificity and then another
statement for people that don't, and I would venture a
guess, that there's a majority of people around this table
that would like the former and not the latter.
MR. MASUR: I just want to make my speech for
hopefully the last time. We are less -- actually, use the
N word. We are in fact negotiating now, and I really want
to recommend against doing that. The problem with going
through point by point is that that will be a further
What Barry brought out, what Gigi is saying, is
possibly what we have to figure out how to do, is how to
make the statement, this is where we're all together, this
is where we came apart, and these are the ways in which we
MR. DILLER: What I don't understand is, how
could you not say, since you can never, I think, get up to
the printing press unless you say here's where we agree,
and it's substantive, it's real, and it's worthwhile.
Here's where we agree and here is where there is
disagreement, because disagreement here, it would be
foolish to think there wouldn't be, given the mix of
people you've got around. Why would that be in any way
MR. ORNSTEIN: Let me just raise one other --
following on what Shelby said, there's another way which
we could go here, and that is to add into the body of the
report some description of areas where we think there
ought to be requirements, community outreach,
accountability, public service announcements, describe
very briefly what they are, and then not get into specific
numbers. If we do that --
MR. CRUMP: Norm, it's already written that way.
You have it. You've done an excellent job. If you look
at page 8 under the second paragraph, towards the tail end
of that second paragraph, under minimum public interest
requirements, any set of minimum standards should be
drafted by the FCC in close conjunction with broadcasters
themselves and phased in over several years beginning with
stations' transmission of digital signals.
We include as an example -- as an example, and
that's all it is, not necessarily that it be followed, but
as an example, so it's written well there as something to
recommend, but I think this takes care of Les' and Barry's
concerns. Any set of minimum standards should be drafted
by the FCC in close consultation. That's really giving
them the power, the right to specificity. We're just
MS. SCOTT: But I think we have to say what the
areas are without being specific.
MR. DILLER: You've got them. They're listed.
MR. ORNSTEIN: But we can list the areas without
getting into specific numbers.
MS. CHARREN: Except in the appendix.
MR. DILLER: There's nothing wrong with saying
that a group of people in this assemblage have suggested
the following specifics. There's nothing wrong with that.
It is also not wrong to say there are a lot of
other people who think they're crazy. Fine. End it
there. That's the work you've done. Why not bring the
work you've done to that kind of conclusion?
MR. MOONVES: Including the 110 to 150 per week.
MR. DILLER: Less. If a number of people in the
room, and I recognize the danger of counting heads, but if
a number of people in the room say, we think those are
reasonable specifics, and we represent --
MR. MOONVES: Does the word compromise, Barry,
not exist here? If a number of people in the room want to
include the exact number of PSA's and exactly when they're
going to run, then a number of people in the room could
say, you know what? I don't want minimum public interest
requirements at all, and I was offering a compromise.
MR. DILLER: I think that's impossible.
MS. STRAUSS: What's your compromise?
MR. MOONVES: I'm fine with what is existing for
minimum public interest requirements in the body of the
piece, and let me go a step further, and my fellow
broadcasters may disagree with me.
I am fine, in fact, in including in very general
terms some of the areas that we could deal with from
Mr. Goodmon's report, and you had said earlier what was
included later on. Some of them should be included here,
or can be included here. I don't think free political
programming should be in this area.
MR. DILLER: Can I say one thing, just one
thing, because unfortunately I guess the true
opposition -- I would like to say just one thing, and it
does deal with free political time. I think I would say
I don't have any idea whether it has consensus,
but the idea that this group would recommend that Congress
must deal with political finance reform, that
broadcasters, should they deal with it, that broadcasters
will give generously of time if it is linked to real
reform is something -- all I can do is introduce it and
say I really believe it, and I've believed it for some
time, and if it develops a consensus, fine, and if it
doesn't, I've at least made the attempt.
MR. MOONVES: Barry, we're in total agreement on
MR. DILLER: So long as that -- and the stronger
and clearer you can write that so that you can throw a
challenge grant to Congress, that if broadcasters would do
that challenge grant, while the cynics would say hopeless,
maybe it will have a prayer.
MR. MOONVES: Barry, at an earlier meeting I
said the most significant thing this body may ever do is
attach those two things and urge Congress --
MR. DILLER: Do we have unanimity of that?
MR. ORNSTEIN: Let's hope that's better than the
handshake between President Clinton and Speaker Gingrich.
We will break for lunch, and when we come back
we will try to at least resolve this a little bit more,
but it sounds as if we include all of these areas but not
necessarily the specific numbers that are in that one
MR. MOONVES: I didn't say all these areas, but
(Whereupon, at 1:15 p.m., the meeting recessed,
to reconvene later this same day.)
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