FCC chairman Reed Hundt told broadcasters Wednesday he had a “patriotic duty” to attend a world telecommunications conference rather than the National Assn. of Broadcasters convention here.

Hundt, who’s taken heat from broadcasters for not making the NAB trip, addressed the convention via satellite from the Intl.

Telecommunications Union in Buenos Aires.

The rookie FCC chairman said he had no intention of snubbing U.S. broadcasters by skipping NAB. “There are hard choices in my new job … but I know you recognize that I had a patriotic duty to represent our country and our American business interest here in Buenos Aires.”

Hundt traveled to Argentina with Vice President Al Gore, who on Tuesday delivered a speech urging nations throughout the world to build information superhighways using the Clinton administration’s infopike plan as the model.

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