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July 1, 1999


Thank you Mr. Kroll. Well, this is it. Today is the day that the V-Chip becomes a reality for all Americans.

When the Chairman asked me to head this V-Chip Task Force, my charge was to ensure that the roll-out of the V-Chip goes as smoothly as possible. To do that, I thought we had to do three things immediately. One, we had to make sure the V-Chips are in the TV sets by the date set by our rules today. Two, we had to make sure that the ratings were actually being transmitted so that the V-Chips will have something to read. And three, we had to let parents know that the V-Chip is here and how they can use it in their everyday lives.

Today I am pleased to join you here at Circuit City to welcome the V-Chip.

When we adopted our V-Chip rules a little over a year ago, we set what I thought was an achievable but aggressive deadline for manufacturers to incorporate the V-Chip into their new sets. By today - July 1, 1999 - half of all new models with screens 13 inches or larger are required to have a V-Chip. By January 1, 2000, all new sets with screens 13 inches or larger will be required to have the V-Chip. As we can see today in this store, manufacturers have met or exceeded the first of these deadlines.

Because without the chips in the sets, the system can't work. That's why I object when people already declare the V-Chip a failure, or say that parents just don't care about the V-Chip. I tell them: the V-Chip has just arrived today. Give it a chance. Up to now, parents who wanted to monitor what their children are watching had to be in the room with them, or maybe watch at the beginning of the show for the little ratings icon. The V-Chip was designed to reflect the reality that often parents can't be at home or in the same room to monitor what their children are watching. In millions of homes, both parents work or there's only one parent. These parents want and deserve the right to protect their children from material they deem unsuitable. Without the V-Chip, they couldn't. Now they can. So let's give the V-Chip a chance before we rush to any judgments about what parents do or do not want.

But in one sense the critics have a point. Consumers don't have a lot of patience. If a product doesn't work the first time they try it, they may not try it again. We need to make sure the V-chip works the first time a parent brings home a set and plugs it in. That is what the Task Force is all about, and that is what these companies have helped bring us closer to. The job is a long way from being done, but this is an important and necessary step.

So today we are here to welcome the V-Chip into stores and into our homes.

Now, let's cut the ribbon.

We have a representative from Thomson to demonstrate an RCA V-Chip set for us today.