B’cast exec warns of effect of violence regs

Passage of anti-violence legislation could have a “devastating impact” on commercial broadcasters, Assn. of Independent Television Stations president Jim Hedlund warned Sunday.

Hedlund, speaking at the opening of the INTV convention here, lamented that broadcasters have become a target in the crusade against TV violence in part because TV stations are covering the news.

“But just because we reported the violence doesn’t mean we caused it,” complained Hedlund.

The INTV head said broadcasters are willing to work with Congress to curb the crime epidemic. However, he said TV station execs “can’t accept … mandates (that) turn their program day into pabulum, and return to Hollywood billions of dollars worth of programming … out of fear that running (certain shows) may trigger a station license challenge.”

Hedlund said the “negative impact on the financial viability of TV stations is a certainty” if extreme anti-violence legislation becomes law. He urged lawmakers to act cautiously before passing a bill “imposing certain harm on us in exchange for a wing and a prayer that (it) will actually accomplish something beneficial.”

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