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Fcc Chief Makes Debut Before Cable Industry

May 23, 1987|PENNY PAGANO | Times Staff Writer

"Independent television stations today are disadvantaged in competing in the broadcast marketplace because they are the only group of stations competing in that framework that cannot secure effective exclusivity rights for the programming that they pay for as a result of the compulsory license and the syndicated exclusivity rules," he said.

Patrick is considered a bright, capable individual whose knowledge was called impressive by lawmakers when he made his first appearance at a hearing on Capitol Hill. He is likely to be more low-key and less confrontational than Fowler, especially when dealing with Congress.

"The commission is facing a number of important issues," Patrick said. "I expect the Congress will take an active interest in those issues, and I welcome that."

While pushing ahead with his own agenda, Patrick must deal with the heated controversy that has erupted as a result of the FCC's decision in April to admonish KPFK-FM (90.7) in Los Angeles and two other radio stations for broadcasting what it deemed to be offensive material.

The ruling has been challenged in a lawsuit by KPFK, and other groups have urged the FCC to clarify its decision with specific guidelines.

"I think the commission has made a reasonable judgment," he said. "We are talking about material that I think the vast majority of persons who reviewed it would consider to be patently offensive. This is not by any means mild material."

But he also said that the commission will judge cases individually and does not plan to issue general guidelines for broadcasters to follow in approaching questions of obscenity and indecency.

"Broadcasters are more familiar with their own broadcast offerings, viewerships and listening patterns than the commission," he said.

Patrick, a bachelor, is known for working long hours, often including Saturdays. But his job isn't the only challenge he likes. When he has a chance, the California native loves nothing more than to don his new wet suit and return to his favorite beaches to surf.

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