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Does America Need a National Broadcast Plan?

4-7-14

NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith came out swinging at his former employer yesterday, the federal government. Smith opened the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas by calling on federal regulators to develop a National Broadcast Plan. He said Washington believes Radio and TV are a competitive threat to new forms of media and he wants lawmakers to develop a regulatory plan to ensure Radio and TV are not put at a disadvantage "due to government bias towards other forms of media." Smith says Radio and TV should be a competitive check on the cable and wireless industries. He also took issue with the fact that broadcasters are still being regulated as if the world were stuck in the 70's. Here are more quotes from Smith's keynote address Monday.

"On one hand, government can treat us as if we are dinosaurs and does what it can to encourage TV stations to go out of business. On the other hand, the FCC says we are so important and powerful that two TV stations can't share advertising in the same market, while it's okay for multiple cable, satellite and telecommunications operators to do so. Which is it? Too powerful or irrelevant? It can't be both. One possible explanation is that, over the past five years, there has been an increasingly singular focus by the federal government on broadband."

"The FCC has continued to regulate broadcasters as if the world is stuck in the 1970s. So I ask, why doesn't the FCC have a National Broadcast Plan? Why is there no focus to foster innovation and investment in broadcasting to ensure our business continues to be a world leader alongside our broadband industries? Where is the FCC's gusto and determination to embrace broadcasting's values and public service responsibilities? "

"Regulators should abandon taking isolated approaches to policies ranging from the UHF discount to sharing agreements to radio chips in cellphones, and instead should examine broadcast rules comprehensively and how they interact to achieve broader broadcast goals. By taking a forward-looking regulatory approach to broadcasting, the FCC can foster competition between different forms of media to the benefit of the consumer."

"If the Commission is really serious about competition, it will study how broadcasting can be a competitive check on the cable and wireless industries. Without broadcasting, who will carry out the public interest mandates of diversity and localism, to say nothing of children's programming, political events and observing decency standards of local communities."

"While other communications companies such as pay-TV providers, satellite and online radio, and wireless carriers charge consumers for using their products, every American is capable of receiving radio and television broadcasting for free on an on-going basis. If the government continues imposing outdated regulations on broadcasters, it would be most detrimental to those most at-risk in our society."




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- guoguo
(4/8/2014 12:52:21 PM)
Smith says the government "does what it can to encourage TV stations to go out of business"... huh? what??! That statement sounds like a conspiracy theorist. Smith sounds like a whining baby. If you represent an industry, rather than pandering to the audience, try using some facts. And don't blame emerging technologies for problems in your business. Welcome to free enterprise and capitalism!

- Bob MacKay
(4/8/2014 12:52:20 PM)
Smith says the government "does what it can to encourage TV stations to go out of business"... huh? what??! That statement sounds like a conspiracy theorist. Smith sounds like a whining baby. If you represent an industry, rather than pandering to the audience, try using some facts. And don't blame emerging technologies for problems in your business. Welcome to free enterprise and capitalism!

- Bob MacKay
(4/8/2014 11:25:10 AM)
Maybe if radio didn't suck so bad, more people would listen. I don't want to listen to some satellite fed "nash" FM garbage pretending to be "local" radio.

I have a 'National Broadcast Plan' - only allow an operator to have ONE station in any given market. Lets get more diversity in broadcasting! Maybe something lively will happen.

- Jerry Goodell
(4/8/2014 7:03:59 AM)
Given the penetrations of both cable and the internet, traditional broadcasting and its other-mandated Sundee Skool-influenced curtailment of thought and speech is slowly being rendered as another irrelevancy in the social fabric.

More importantly or, maybe, just as important, is the refusal of traditional radio broadcasters to improve their own products and services.

It doesn't take a Svengali to predict where that is going.

- Ronald

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