FCC chairman Reed Hundt last week summoned his four comrades to an unusual closed-door meeting at which he suggested all parties tone down the heated rhetoric of recent weeks. Relations among FCC members have become increasingly strained, and comments have reached new depths since commissioner Andrew Barrett labeled Hundt a “gutless liar,” after the chairman claimed Barrett and commissioner James Quello were embarked on a “campaign against kids.”
Hundt’s favorite sparring partner has been Quello, the veteran commish who has taken almost impish delight in building three-vote majorities to thwart the FCC chairman’s activist agenda. Quello has taken the lead in blocking Hundt’s plans to require commercial TV stations to air three hours a week of children’s educational programming.
Sources said Hundt, Barrett and Quello offered mea culpas during the 30-minute private meeting, which also was attended by FCC members Susan Ness and Rachelle Chong. All sides agreed it is “time for a little peaceful coexistence,” according to one source.