As Congress works to address the deepening crisis faced by businesses across the country, legislators should provide immediate relief to local radio and television stations to ensure they can stay on the air and continue to serve and inform their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Microsoft is lobbying Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for free spectrum - or airwaves - to operate unlicensed devices. Microsoft claims this would unlock broadband for rural America, but fails to mention it will do so at the expense of rural Americans' lifeline local TV service.
The C-band is a strip of satellite spectrum that radio and TV stations use every day to receive critical content for their broadcasts. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering transferring some or all of that spectrum to wireless companies for new services, which could impact the programming listeners and viewers rely upon.
In a response to growing complaints about poor cable service and high rates, Congress passed the 1992 Cable Act, which intended to curb cable rates that were excessively increasing and far outpacing inflation. The Act also included the right for local television broadcasters to negotiate with cable in a free market for use of their signals (known as retransmission consent).
The internet has transformed the media marketplace, yet TV and radio broadcasters are still subject to outdated rules restricting the number and type of outlets they may own. Policymakers should support the continued modernization of these rules to account for the rise, and increasing influence, of digital media.
The next generation of broadcast television technology will deliver life-saving advanced emergency alerting, stunning pictures, immersive, customizable audio and improved reception - all for free - to enhance and expand your broadcast viewing experience. Because the new technology combines the best of broadcast television and broadband, Next Gen TV allows local stations to better personalize their broadcasts with information and interactive features to give viewers the content that is most relevant to them.
During the past two Congresses, some members of Congress, at the behest of the big record labels, introduced a bill to impose a performance tax on local radio broadcasters. The Performance Rights Act would have imposed a devastating new fee on local stations simply for airing music on the radio - airing the music that provides free promotion to the labels and artists. A new performance fee could financially cripple local radio stations putting jobs at risk, stifle new artists trying to break into the recording business and harm the listening public who rely on local radio.
Virtually all smartphones are manufactured with hardware capable of receiving free FM radio signals, but not all phones have this feature activated, either by choice of the phone’s manufacturer or the wireless carrier. However, Apple has not activated this feature on any of its iPhones, preventing their customers from saving battery life and data charges, while also blocking access to a critical lifeline during times of emergency.
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