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October 2, 2008

27 Congressional Black Caucus Members Express Concern Over FCC Localism Mandates

WASHINGTON, DC – Twenty-seven members of the Congressional Black Caucus expressed concern to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin this week over recent FCC proposals that would dictate how broadcasters serve their local communities, placing additional regulatory burdens on local radio and television stations.

To date, 28 senators and more than 150 House members have sent letters to the FCC expressing concern over the proposed regulation.

In a letter spearheaded by Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) and co-signed by Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and 23 additional House members, the lawmakers took specific issue with proposals to require 24-hour station staffing as well as a requirement forcing many stations to relocate their main studios.

"If adopted, these proposals would impose a significant financial hardship on minority broadcasters, with little tangible benefit to the public," the lawmakers wrote. "We urge the Commission either to reject outright, or significantly modify, these two proposals."

In a separate letter, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Congressional Black Caucus, voiced his own concerns regarding the two proposed regulations.

"Neither regulation would, in my estimation, promote the cause of localism, but would impose unnecessary and possibly unbearable burdens on local broadcasters," Rush wrote.

The 27 Congressional Black Caucus members join a chorus of lawmakers who have voiced concern over the FCC's proposed rulemaking. In addition to a letter authored by 23 senators on April 24, Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ben Nelson (D-NE) and John Ensign (R-NV)have all written individual letters to the Commission expressing concern.

In addition, 123 members of the House of Representatives 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.

Last May, House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-TX) and committee member Cliff Stearns (R-FL) sent a letter expressing similar concern.

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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


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