WASHINGTON May 10, 2011 -To commemorate the 50th anniversary of former Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Newton Minow’s famous speech in which he called television a “vast wasteland,” the National Press Club and the George Washington University Global Media Institute gathered current FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Minow to discuss the current state of the commission and media.
Minow called the work of the current FCC considerably more complex and difficult than that of the organization he led in the early 1960s.
“When I was chair we got our television through the air and the phone through the wires, now it’s the total opposite. But we have considerably more options than we used to have,” said Minow. “It doesn’t matter what your interest is, you can find a channel to support it on television and even more is on the internet. Even with all the choices we have out there for content we must keep the Internet free.”
Minow also called spectrum a vital resource that must be used for the public good.
“I pushed the broadcasters to create education programming which they weren’t doing because it was necessary programming,” he said.
Genachowski compared this push for educational programming to the current push to use broadcast spectrum to expand mobile broadband.
“I agree that we must use the spectrum we have in a responsible manner for the good of the public,” said Genachowski. “This is why we must expand our mobile broadband options, it will bring access to a larger group of people.”