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V-chip ‘fine’ with Hundt

FCC chairman Reed Hundt on Tuesday called Rep. Ed Markey’s “V-chip” bill a “very creative proposal” for dealing with TV violence but stopped short of endorsing its passage.

Hundt said it is “not for the FCC to tell Congress what to pass.”

Nevertheless, the new Federal Communications Commission chair called the Markey measure — which would require insertion of a microchip in all new TV sets allowing parents to block out all programs coded with a violence rating — a”fine bill.” The FCC will enforce the V-chip proposal if it becomes law, Hundt promised.

Hundt’s comments came at a brown-bag luncheon with FCC employees and reporters, where he dodged an inquiry into whether he intends to explore changes in the primetime access rule. Hundt plans “to consult with my general counsel and duck that question,” he said.

A CBS affiliate in Orlando last week asked a federal court to order the FCC to act on a longstanding petition calling for elimination of PTAR, the reg that requires network affiliates in the top 50 markets to set aside an hour of primetime each night for non-network programming.

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