Telecom headlines June 1

Gary Handman (
Tue, 2 Jun 1998 10:56:25 -0700 (PDT)

Title: TV Ratings Frequently a Jumble to Parents
Source: Chicago Tribune (p1)
Author: Tim Jones
Issue: V-Chip
Description: The TV ratings system has been in place for months, but
isanyone using it? The Kaiser Family Foundation released two polls
yesterday-- one found that 54% of parents reported that they used the
rating systemto help them decide what their kids should watch; the other
found that 36%of kids 10 to 17 had decided not to watch a show because of
it's ratingeither to avoid the wrath of parents or the shame of watching a
showtargeted at kids. Jones writes, "People want some controls, but they
don'tentirely trust the television industry to be the ratings gatekeeper
betweenthe TV set and their children." Vice President Al Gore attended the
surveys'release and encouraged parents to use the ratings system and the
V-chip whenit becomes available. [See Kaiser Family Foundation

Title: Site Showcases Films Made Especially for the Web
Source: New York Times (CyberTimes)
Author: Matthew Mirapaul
Issue: Arts
Description: New Venue is the first online film festival that is
dedicatedto showing only movies made expressly for the Web. Each week New
Venue willshowcase a brief feature created specifically for computer
viewing. Theclips will be playable in either the QuickTime or Flash
browser plug-in.Jason Wishnow, founder of New Venue, said about the
project: "I thought thatif filmmakers were to pay attention to the major
constraints for movies onthe Web -- smaller image size, a lower frame
rate, the pixelated qualitythat comes out of compression, a difference in
audio fidelity, and how ithas to be integrated into the overall Web page
-- they might come up withsomething very exciting." Since April, more than
40 filmmakers havesubmitted flicks. While many seem to still be grappling
with the new medium,Wishnow hopes that "the ground is being laid for
something new." The site is scheduled to officially open on Monday, June
1st, but its producers haveagreed to grant early access to CyberTimes
"arts@large" readers startingtoday. You can access the New Venue site

Title: Must-Carry Draft Expected
Source: Broadcasting&Cable (p17)
Author: Chris McConnell
Issue: Digital TV/Cable
Description: As early as this month, FCC commissioners plan to launch
aneffort to decide how must-carry rules will be applied to digital
TVbroadcasts. Susan Fox, senior legal advisor to FCC Chairman William
Kennard,told a Washington broadcast conference last week that
commissioners shouldreceive draft plans for the rulemaking proposal in

Title: DTV Tower Strike Force
Source: FCC
Issue: Digital Television
Description: The Federal Communications Commission today announced
thecreation of a DTV tower strike force, chaired by Commissioner Susan
Ness, totarget potential problems in the implementation of digital
broadcasttelevision (DTV) and to work with local authorities and
broadcasters toexpedite implementation of DTV. Commissioner Ness said,
"The FCC iscommitted to doing everything possible to help the television
viewing publicquickly receive the dramatic benefits of new digital
television. This groupwill work to help resolve any problems that could
slow down the DTVimplementation process."

Title: Parents Taking to Ratings
Source: Broadcasting&Cable (p16)
Author: Paige Albiniak
Issue: V-chip
Description: Although more than half of the parents surveyed say they
usethe revised TV ratings system in deciding what programs their children
canwatch, almost 70 percent say they do not plan to purchase a new
V-chipequipped set, according to a study of 1,358 parents and 446
childrenconducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. However, 65 percent of
parentssaid they would use a V-chip equipped set if they had one, and 78
percent ofthe children said they approved of the V-chip design to "allow
parents toblock access to shows that get certain ratings, so their kids
won't be ableto watch." But more than 35 percent (one-third) of kids
interviewed saidthey would try to get around such blocking techniques so
they could watchforbidden programs. "The Kaiser study shows that the TV
parental guidelinesare doing what they were designed to do -- provide
parents with advancecautionary information to assist them in monitoring
the television watchingof their young children," said Jack Valenti,
president of the Motion PictureAssociation of America and architect of the
TV ratings system.

Title: Don't Box Us In, Says Cable
Source: Broadcasting&Cable (p15)
Author: Chris McConnell
Issue: Cable
Description: Cable operators want the FCC to allow them to
continueproviding settop boxes that incorporate both "channel surfing" and
securityfunctions. "A prohibition on the provision of such integrated
boxes...wouldbe passed on to the consumer in the form of lower sale or
lease prices," theNational Cable Television Association said in a
submission to FCCcommissioners last week. Commissioners are considering
rules to implementprovision of the 1996 Telecommunications Act that
"mandate the commercialavailability of settop 'navigation' devices." At
the end of last week, FCCofficials were still "struggling to wrap up a
rulemaking" that they say is"fraught" with technical complexity.

Title: Los Angeles Libraries Experience Renaissance With Computer Use
Source: New York Times (CyberTimes)
Author: Rebecca Fairly Raney
Issue: Internet Access/Libraries
Description: A recent study conducted by MCI LibraryLINK found that
since1996 the use of libraries for Internet use has grown by more than
500percent. The study showed that 16 percent of study respondents accessed
the Internet from someplace other than school, work or home and that
almost halfof the group gained access via their local library. Susan Kent,
a librarianin Los Angeles has worked in public libraries for 30 years and
says: "I seewhat's happening now as the best time ever for libraries." She
also is awarethat due to Internet connection libraries are moving more
into the publicspotlight as one way to close the gap between those who
have computers andthose who do not. You can access MCI LibraryLINK's

Title: In Brief
Source: Broadcasting&Cable (p57)
Author: B&C Writers
Issue: Copyrights/Internet Regulation
Description: The House Telecommunications Subcommittee will hold a
hearingthis Friday on a bill that would protect copyrighted material
online. Thebill has already passed out of the House Judiciary Committee,
but Rep. TomBliley, chairman of the Commerce Committee, complained that
the legislationalso falls under his jurisdiction. A subcommittee markup of
the bill willfollow on June 17 and then will proceed to a full committee
markup. Proponents of the bill hope to get legislation passed this year.

Title: The Great Radio Rebellion
Source: Washington Post (D1,D7)
Author: Marc Fisher
Issue: Radio
Description: After Congress decided in 1996 to loosen restrictions on
thenumber of radio stations anyone could own, the big radio companies
promisedthat everything would be fine. But that has not been the case and
thelistener is the one who has been forced to pay through the loss
ofdiversified radio stations around the country. Listener rebellions
haveoccasionally persuaded owners to return to their original formats. But
nowthousands of listeners have come together to make their voice heard in
agroup called Americans for Radio Diversity. The group, created by
JeremyWalker, a graphic designer based in Minneapolis, has just released
the firstof three planned CDs. The recordings, called "Teleconned: We Want
theAirwaves," protests the deregulation that "turned the playground of
radiostations over to the bullies." The CD features 16 songs by groups
like BenFold Five, Ani DiFranco and Nicole Blackman. Profits from the
discs "will goto support independent stations around the country, and give
them a support system to continue broadcasting spirited, irreverent,
unusual radio," saysBlackman.

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000

"You are looking into the mind of home video. It is innocent, it is aimless,
it is determined, it is real" --Don DeLillo, Underworld