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House Committee Revs Up For Kevin Martin's Appearance Tomorrow

February 12, 2007

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., has requested an advance meeting with FCC Chair Kevin Martin tomorrow morning. The stated purpose: to update new Republican members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee panel on pending patters.

"It has been a few months since Chairman Martin last visited the House. Congressman Upton wanted to provide his members an opportunity to catch up with the chairman and have an open discussion on the issues of most concern to their constituents," said Sean Bonyun, an Upton aide. "We hope to have similar opportunities with the other Commissioners in the weeks and months ahead."

The meeting would come in advance of a Committee hearing on issues of concern to the FCC.

In preparation for that meeting,  Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich., and telecom panel chairman U.S. Ed Markey, D-Mass., queried each of the five commissioners on what matters to them.

Chair  Martin cited as one a need "to promote real choice for consumers" of cable providers and that those needs mandated a regulatory mode focused on removing impediments to competition.

"This includes making sure that competitive providers have access to 'must-have' programming that is vertically integrated with a cable operator," he added.

Martin also chose the opportunity to give his views on possible station ownership rule changes.
"At our public hearings, the commission has heard a consistent concern that there are too few local and diverse voices in the community. Certainly we need to protect localism and diversity in the media. We must balance concerns about too much consolidation and too little choice, however, with appropriate consideration of the changes and innovations that are taking place in the media marketplace."

Fellow Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell- the Commish who recused himself on the AT&T-BellSouth merger- wrote  in his answer said the FCC needs to take further action on indecent and violent programming andneeded guidance on how to handle that issue.

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