Broadcasters lash out over FCC plan to reallocate TV spectrum

The president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters offered his harshest criticism to date Monday of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's plan to reallocate TV station's airwaves for wireless services.


As part of the National Broadband Plan, Genachowski has proposed asking broadcasters to volunteer to give up some of their spectrum holdings in exchange for a cut of the auction proceeds.

But Gordon Smith, a former Republican Senator from Oregon, says the plan is far from voluntary and broadcasters won't actually have a choice in the matter.

"This sounds about as voluntary as Marlon Brando saying in the Godfather that he wanted either the guy's signature or his brains on the contract," said Smith in his keynote speech at NAB's trade show in Las Vegas.

In addition, broadband is not held to the same standards as broadcasters when it comes to indecent material, Smith pointed out.

"The unpleasant truth is that the Internet is rampant with lewd and degrading material," he said."

"Here is the half-facetious irony: if broadcasting loses spectrum and grandma's new HDTV is rendered useless, at least she will have the consolation of knowing her grandson can get lewd material instantaneously on his cell phone," he said.

The comments are the most forceful yet to come from Smith, who's kept a relatively low profile since taking the helm at NAB in September.