At the recent Hispanic Radio Conference in Miami, NAB CEO Curtis LeGeyt stood firm that the association is opposed to GeoBroadcast Solutions‘ ZoneCasting technology, which seeks the FCC’s approval for program origination from FM boosters as an addressable advertising solution for some broadcast groups.
As part of his comments, LeGeyt said he’s not hearing from broadcasters that they support the rule change that would allow FM booster program origination.
Some 59 independent broadcasters beg to differ.
The small ownership groups, which include Sebring, Fla.-based Cohan Radio Group, on Monday sent a letter to the NAB head. It was publicly shared on Wednesday by GeoBroadcast Solutions, which is engaged in a PR battle with the NAB on the “ZoneCasting” issue — perhaps the biggest for Radio in Washington, D.C., today.
As first reported by Streamline Publishing’s Radio + Television Business Report, the 59 independent radio station owners collectively believe geotargeting “will give us the opportunity to serve our communities with hyperlocal content and compete for local ad dollars.” Citing the flood of dollars to local digital advertising platforms, the groups assert, “The time has come for the FCC to sweep away this artifice of regulation and give us the option to innovate in the local ad sector.”
But, the independent broadcasters’ biggest beef is that, in their view, “the NAB has mentioned on several occasions that the radio industry is unified in its opposition to geotargeting.”
The owners cited a Radio Ink article from June 24 that quoted LeGeyt in saying he and the NAB were “not hearing from broadcasters that they support the rule change that would allow FM boosters to geo-target programming and ads, a few minutes per hour, to specific communities.”
Now, the independent radio station licensees have responded, saying, “That’s not true.”
The letter to LeGeyt is intended to correct that misperception.
Then, the licensees shared that the letter to LeGeyt seeks to make the point that the NAB’s opposition to geotargeting “will do long-term damage to the ability of broadcasters to continue to effectively advocate for deregulation of the broadcast sector.”
The radio broadcasters also seek to tie the NAB’s support of ATSC 3.0 and its voluntary rollout, which offers an addressable advertising solution, to its early support of ZoneCasting.
In closing, the independent licensees slammed the NAB’s position as “illogical,” concluding that it is “a retreat from the NAB’s ironclad commitment to broadcast deregulation. This will leave legislators and regulators confused and uncertain as to broadcasters’ commitment to deregulation. Worse, it gives broadcasters’ competitors and critics an opportunity to exploit the inconsistency to the detriment of our shared agenda of deregulation.”
WHO ARE THE 59 INDEPENDENT BROADCASTERS THAT WANT ZONECASTING?