AM & Radio Freedom: More State Broadcast Leaders Recap D.C.


Radio’s recent trip to Capitol Hill remains fresh on both legislators’ and broadcasters’ minds as supporters in the House and Senate pile on to the AM For Every Vehicle Act and the Local Radio Freedom Act.

After our initial follow-up, Radio Ink caught up with two more state broadcast association leaders who journeyed to the capital to gauge the current sentiment towards radio among Congressional leaders.

Justin Sasso, Colorado Broadcasters Association President and CEO

“CBA board chair Brenda Egger of iHeartMedia Colorado, Vice Chair Dean Littleton of Scripps Media, and I had an important agenda: keeping AM, and for that matter radio, in the vehicle.”

“While some lawmakers shun government mandates for private industry, car manufacturers have willingly accepted mandated safety standards in return for taxpayer-funded bailouts. In the vehicle, radio is an emergency communication device that disseminates critical information, quickly and broadly. Radio provides redundancy, with no single point of failure, like broadband.”

“Examples, like Colorado’s Marshall Fire and the state’s tendency toward natural disasters helped bring this concept home for our legislators, whose constituents have suffered events where broadcast-disseminated information saved lives.”

“Keeping radio free and available in vehicles is about public safety. We left our meetings with the sense that more were considering our call for support and additional Colorado congress members will support AM In Every Vehicle.”

Keith Shipman, Washington State Association of Broadcasters President and CEO 

“Washington state’s Congressional delegation has been generally supportive of local broadcasters throughout my eight years with the WSAB. We are fortunate to have Members in senior leadership positions – Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA-D) is Chairwoman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transporation Committee and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-R-5) is Chairwoman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce – and both understand the issues well and the role they play in oversight of the FCC.”

“Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-D-3) was an original co-sponsor of the AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act and Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-R-4) and Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-D-6) joined her on the House side, while Sen. Cantwell is a co-sponsor of the companion bill in the Senate.  Though Chairwoman McMorris Rodgers has been reluctant to move the bill in her Committee (she is opposed to mandates and feels AM Radio in Every Vehicle is a mandate) she shared with us that she is now considering conducting a hearing given the growing support of her colleagues in the House and the feedback she has received from her constituents in the largely rural 5th District she represents in Eastern Washington.”

“Chairwoman McMorris Rodgers has been a longtime supporter of the Local Radio Freedom Act, as has Rep. Kilmer and Rep. Newhouse, and three of our 12 Members participate in the broadcasters caucus.”

“We have worked hard to socialize a variety of issues with our members, including the Journalism Preservation and Competition Act, vMVPD, and Artificial Intelligence, and gratefully, all of our members understand the challenges that these issues create for local radio and television broadcasters.  Both members and staff shared that almost every meeting they take now includes the subject of AI,  that it’s among the most troubling issues that all industries face and will require guardrails of some sort to ensure authenticity in all uses of this fast-evolving technology.”

“Broadcasters in our state are grateful to our Congressional Members and their staff – they understand the issues our industry faces legislatively and economically and we appreciate the dialogue we share with them both in Washington, DC and while in-district. We’ve enjoyed many productive conversations with our Members of Congress over the past eight years, but I believe our visit in March of this year provided some of the most interesting insights from our Congressional delegation – and without question showed the most support of our industry, particularly as it relates to the important role that local media plays in a healthy democracy. The WSAB’s Statewide Media Landscape Study we shared with them substantiated what we suspected – the number one video platform and number one audio platform is local television and local AM/FM radio, respectively, and free over-the-air local broadcasting is the most trusted and accurate voice for local news in the communities we serve across the state.”


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