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Legislative and Regulatory Issues

A Performance Tax Threatens Local Jobs

During the past two Congresses, some members of Congress, at the behest of the big record labels, introduced a bill to impose a performance tax on local radio broadcasters. The Performance Rights Act would have imposed a devastating new fee on local stations simply for airing music on the radio – airing the music that provides free promotion to the labels and artists. A new performance fee could financially cripple local radio stations putting jobs at risk, stifle new artists trying to break into the recording business and harm the listening public who rely on local radio.
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Prevent Harmful Changes to Advertising Tax Treatment

Advertising revenue is critical to local TV and radio stations that rely on those dollars to serve local communities with vital news and information and high quality entertainment. As Congress considers initiatives that impact advertising, including restrictions on food marketing and a moratorium on television commercials for new medicines, it should avoid legislation that threatens free speech and increases federal agencies' authority to excessively restrict advertising on which local stations rely.
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Allow Broadcasters to Continue Negotiating in the Free Market

In a response to growing complaints about poor cable service and high rates, Congress passed the 1992 Cable Act, which intended to curb cable rates that were excessively increasing and far outpacing inflation. The Act also included the right for local television broadcasters to negotiate with cable in a free market for use of their signals (known as retransmission consent).
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TV Station Relocation Could Leave Viewers in the Dark

When Congress authorized the broadcast incentive auction, broadcasters were assured that participation was voluntary and stations that did not volunteer would be held harmless. To this end, Congress authorized $1.75 billion dollars in the Television Broadcaster Relocation Fund (Fund) to cover the reasonable costs necessary to relocate broadcasters to new channel assignments following this auction. Congress also included a 36-month timeline for broadcasters to submit requests for reimbursement.
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Reforming Broadcast Ownership Rules to Reflect the Competitive Marketplace

Local radio and television stations believe localism is best sustained by permitting broadcasters to compete effectively in the digital multichannel marketplace. Allowing stations to compete in the marketplace by reforming unnecessary restrictions would help them maintain economic vibrancy and the ability to serve their local communities in an ever-changing and competitive media landscape. Out-of-date restrictions on ownership of broadcast outlets that do not reflect current competitive realities in the digital age should be modernized.
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The Next Generation of Broadcast Television is on the Horizon

The next generation of broadcast television technology will deliver life-saving advanced emergency alerting, stunning pictures, immersive, customizable audio and improved reception – all for free – to enhance and expand your broadcast viewing experience. Because the new technology combines the best of broadcast television and broadband, Next Gen TV allows local stations to better personalize their broadcasts with information and interactive features to give viewers the content that is most relevant to them.
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Expand Access to Emergency Information: Unlock FM

We applaud Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon for moving to unlock FM in their Android mobile phones, which offers many benefits to consumers, especially in times of crisis. Unlike the text-based alert system deployed by the wireless industry, broadcast radio can work even when cell networks go down or become heavily congested. As a result, local radio provides the most efficient and cost-effective way to keep Americans safe and informed in times of crisis. We urge Apple to provide its iPhone customers with this feature.
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Protecting the Rights of Journalists

Virtually all states provide, either by statute or by judicial decision, protections to journalists so that they are not forced to reveal the identity of confidential sources. In federal courts, however, there is no uniform set of standards to govern when information about confidential sources can be sought from reporters. Broadcast journalists' ability to bring important matters to the American public has been put in jeopardy as numerous reporters have been questioned about their confidential sources or had their records subpoenaed in cases before federal courts.
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