Last week, Hoosier broadcasters went to Capitol Hill to share the impact of local TV and radio with members of Congress.
WSLM Owner and General Manager Rebecca White was part of the Indiana Broadcasters Association group for the second year.
She is the 9th Congressional District Board member serving in her second term.
“It was so exciting to see how things work in Washington,” said White. “We all had parts to play in talking with Senators and Representatives on the trip as well as meeting with the National Association of Broadcasters.”
White said 18 broadcasters from Indiana met with each member of Indiana’s congressional delegation or members of their staff to discuss several issues impacting our industry now and in the future.
One of the issues possibly affecting small broadcasters is a tax on radio broadcasters.
Indiana broadcasters asked members of Congress to sign the Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA), which opposes any new tax, fee or royalty on local radio stations, enjoys strong bipartisan support in both chambers. Last year, all Indiana Senators and Representatives signed the legislation co-sponsored LRFA and we are working to garner their same support this year.
Nearly 1,000 local television stations across the country are required to move to new frequencies due to the FCC’s broadcast spectrum incentive auction – known as the Spectrum Repack.
The Repack is currently in Phase 2 and most Indiana stations will transition in Phase 6 which is scheduled for this fall.
Delays due to weather, a shortage of qualified tower crews and other complications may prevent some stations from meeting their deadlines despite their best efforts.
Members of Congress were asked to ensure that viewers and listeners should not lose access to the critical emergency information and local news broadcast stations provide due to arbitrary and unachievable deadlines set by the FCC.
The IBA asked the 116th Congress to make sure the FCC applies a waiver standard that ensures no TV station is forced off the air due to circumstances beyond its control.
The IBA asked Congress to let the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) to sunset at the end of the year. Due to dramatic changes in the media marketplace, the provisions are no longer necessary.
Technology has eliminated the need to import out-of-market station signals to consumers, and satellites now deliver local TV stations to all 210 local media markets.