Copps on Patrol.

Author:Rimensnyder, Sara
Position:Cleaning up TV - Michael J. Copps - Brief Article

RANKLED BY RACY television and by radio shock jocks, Michael J. Copps, one of four commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has called on broadcasters to adopt a voluntary code of conduct.

In a February 4 USA Today op-ed piece, Copps warned radio, TV, and cable executives that "continued intransigence"--failure to slap industry-wide restrictions on "sexual material, violence, liquor and drug use, even on excessive advertising" by Easter--could mean "the government may have to halt the race to the bottom." (It's worth noting that the FCC has no power to regulate content on cable television, which doesn't use the public airwaves.)

Fortunately, Copps is correct: Broadcasters have resisted the idea of instituting even a voluntary code. One radio and TV executive estimates that 90 percent of the profession is solidly against top-level restrictions on what stations can broadcast. Years ago, the industry did have such a code. It was abandoned after the...

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