Michael Powell, earthbound

Michael Powell, earthbound

: I actually believe that in his heart of hearts, Michael Powell — once a friend of the First Amendment — is embarrassed that he turned himself into the national nanny for cheap political gain. Call me an optimist.

At CES, Powell gave a Q&A and said again he’d keep his hands off satellite.

Michael Powell had a rare bit of good news Thursday for shock jock Howard Stern, saying the government had no interest in censoring satellite radio.

Engaging in a question-and-answer session at the Consumer Electronics Show, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission dismissed notions that broadcast radio operators will suffer unless the growing satellite radio business is subjected to the same content restrictions that forbid “the seven dirty words.”

“I think it’s a dangerous thing to start talking about extending government oversight of content to other media just to level the playing field,” Powell said….

Broadcast radio operators have made several unsuccessful attempts to restrict satellite radio content. But Powell said the merging of media formats and the Internet and changing attitudes favor minimal oversight.

“At the end of the day, I think we’re going to move in the direction of the Jeffersonian free-speech tradition,” he said.

At the end of the day. Which day?