Congress should not pass legislation that hurts free, local broadcasting by modifying the tax laws to make advertising more expensive for businesses. Advertising is currently treated as an ordinary and necessary business expense - just like salaries, rent and utilities - under the U.S. tax code. This means a business can fully deduct the expense in the year it was incurred. Some in Congress have suggested changing the tax treatment of advertising for specific types of products, such as pharmaceuticals. This change would have a devastating impact on listeners and viewers of local radio and television stations that rely on advertising revenue to survive, raises significant First Amendment concerns and ignores the important consumer benefits that advertising provides.Learn More
In 1978, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Minority Tax Certificate Program, which provided a tax incentive to those who sold their majority interest in a broadcast station to minorities. From 1978 to 1995, the program was highly effective in leveling the playing field for underrepresented broadcasters, increasing diverse ownership in broadcast stations by more than 550 percent. Unfortunately, Congress repealed this program in 1995. Broadcasters opposed this repeal because of the program's dramatic and positive impact on increasing ownership of broadcast stations for people of color. The tax certificate has proven to be an effective mechanism for bringing more people of color into station ownership and should be reinstated.Learn More
Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, recently introduced the Local Journalism Sustainability Act (S. 2434), along with Sen. Ron Wyden (OR), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Mark Kelly (AZ). This legislation would establish tax incentives that would provide much-needed relief for local newsrooms. Specifically, this legislation would create a targeted tax credit for the hiring and retention of local journalists, as well as a tax credit for businesses to advertise with local broadcast radio and TV stations and newspapers.
Virtually all states provide protections, either by statute or by judicial decision, so that journalists are not routinely forced to reveal the identity of confidential sources. In federal courts, however, there is no uniform set of standards to govern when information about confidential sources can be sought from reporters. Broadcast journalists' ability to bring important matters to the American public has been put in jeopardy as numerous reporters have been questioned about their confidential sources or had their records subpoenaed in cases before federal courts.
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.Learn More
In addition to their primary spectrum assignments for over-the-air transmissions, TV and radio broadcasters use additional spectrum in both the C-band and the 6 GHz band every day to transmit and receive critical, live content for their broadcasts. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering changes to the use of these spectrum bands to allow for new services, which could impact the programming listeners and viewers rely upon.Learn More
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).Learn More
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.Learn More
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.Learn More
For decades, the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division has maintained that local broadcast television stations compete only against other broadcast television stations when analyzing mergers and other competition issues relating to the industry. This view no longer matches today's media marketplace.Learn More
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