Powell lauds H’w’d effort

FCC chair calls TV news channels 'extraordinarily useful' in wake of attacks

WASHINGTON — Chatting with media and entertainment execs in Beverly Hills on Friday, Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell said both newsies and entertainers have played a critical and helpful role in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The top regulator, the headliner at a Hollywood Radio and Television Society lunch, said TV news channels have been “extraordinarily useful” in keeping the public informed. On a more general basis, Powell said TV also has helped the country by organizing or airing benefits and by providing comedic programming.

“There’s a nation in deep need of it,” Powell said.

Companies repped at the luncheon included the Walt Disney Co. and News Corp.

Addressing specific issues facing the FCC, Powell reiterated that he doesn’t support a move to limit the hours during which violent programming can be aired. Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, is pushing legislation that would create such a safe harbor. The commerce panel has jurisdiction over the FCC.

“The problem is, How on Earth do you define violence? We’re in a violent society,” Powell said.

The top regulator also encouraged the execs to develop programming for digital TV.

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