WASHINGTON, DC – The National Association of Broadcasters filed reply comments late yesterday with the Federal Communications Commission concerning a proposed rulemaking that would dictate how broadcasters serve their local communities, placing increased regulatory burdens on local radio and television stations.
"As NAB stated in its initial comments, and as thousands of commenters, both broadcasters and third parties, have now shown, radio and television broadcasters are closely connected with their local communities and provide a wealth of community-responsive programming," NAB said in its filings. NAB noted that the "assertions of small numbers of media critics" clamoring for "more programming of a specific type" is not supported by the record before the FCC, and the imposition of new and intrusive regulation would be unjustified.
NAB also noted that, in the last two license renewal cycles, only 0.9 percent of all renewal applications were contested, demonstrating that "99.1 percent of all licensees were serving their communities so well that their license renewal applications were unopposed."
"The Commission cannot disregard this concrete, numerical evidence as to viewer and listener satisfaction with their local broadcast stations," NAB said.
NAB's FCC comments follow a recent letter from House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-TX) and committee member Cliff Stearns (R-FL) to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin expressing concern over the recent FCC proposals. To date, 28 senators and roughly 130 members of the House have sent letters to the FCC expressing concern over the proposed regulation.
"While the processing guidelines proposed in the Localism Report may not directly regulate broadcaster content, they create a perverse incentive to air programming aimed at satisfying the government, and not local communities," wrote the lawmakers. "The First Amendment concerns that caused the Commission to abandon programming guidelines two decades ago are just as relevant today."
In addition to Barton and Stearn's letter, 23 senators expressed similar concerns in an April 24 letter to the Commission.
Additionally, 123 members of the House of Representatives recently sent a letter to the Commission voicing opposition to "radical re-regulation" that would "turn back the clock on decades of deregulatory progress by imposing a series of new and burdensome regulations on broadcasters." North Carolina Representative Mike McIntyre (D-7th), Texas Representatives Gene Green (D-29th) and Charles Gonzalez (D-20th), Maine Representative Mike Michaud (D-2nd) and New York Representative John McHugh (R-23rd) have also voiced their concerns in individual letters to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.
The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. Information about NAB can be found at www.nab.org.