A lame-duck Federal Communications Commission commissioner yesterday charged that the agency is moving toward more regulation rather than less despite a lot of "rhetoric" to the country.
"At a time our elected leaders and the public itself are pleading for less government regulation, the FCC is marching to a different drummer," Margita E. White told a National Association of Broadcasters conference in Atlanta yesterday.
White, a Republican appointee whose FCC term expired in June, can remain on the seven-member commission until an appointee by President Carter can be sworn in. Although Carter has nominated Anne Jones, general counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board to succeed White, Senate confirmation hearings cannot be held until the new session in January.
Despite the talk about "a deregulatory direction" at the FCC, White cited a recent FCC proposal for a "massive" spectrum fee, efforts to "restructure" the broadcast industry, and a trend toward greater program regulation as examples that inject the the commission further into the broadcasters' affairs.
She said that in the coming months, the commission was scheduled to debate percentage standards over commercial content, local programming, children's programs, advertising to children, news and public affairs and the performance of incumbents in comparative license renewal proceedings.
She said greater reliance on decisions by the public in the competitive marketplace would more likely produce a greater diversity of quality programming than would more stringent regulation.