WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) hosted a virtual town hall today to provide updates on NAB’s policy priorities for the rest of the year and answer member questions. NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt and Executive Vice President of Industry Affairs April Carty-Sipp discussed the association’s advocacy efforts, educational initiatives and innovation projects.
LeGeyt discussed his recent testimony at a House Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on the state of the video marketplace. He explained how NAB is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to refresh the record in its 2014 proceeding on the regulatory framework for virtual multichannel video programming distributors.
“We now have a major disruption underway and those audiences are migrating from cable and satellite over to the virtual MVPDs, and that’s having an impact on local broadcasters,” said LeGeyt. “What we’re asking the FCC to do is to reopen a proceeding that has been dormant for the last nine years that takes a look at whether those rules of the road that apply to the cable and satellite services ought to be extended to virtual MVPDs.”
LeGeyt also answered questions regarding the ongoing Depend on AM Radio campaign and the status of the AM Radio For Every Vehicle Act, which now has more than 190 House and Senate cosponsors.
“Over the course of the last six months, local broadcasters around the country have been airing spots highlighting the importance of AM radio, the need for the automakers to maintain AM radio in the automobile. Local personalities have been highlighting this issue for their listeners, and as a result, those listeners have been taking action,” said LeGeyt. “More than 360,000 emails have come from listeners across the country to members of Congress, another 40,000 or so hits on social media. So the volume that we’ve been able to raise on this issue has been absolutely incredible and I think all of that activity is really generating the momentum that you’re seeing on Capitol Hill.”
LeGeyt spoke about why it is critical that the FCC reform ownership rules from a bygone era that cause broadcasters to compete with one arm tied behind their backs in a crowded marketplace. He spotlighted NAB’s successful efforts to reduce broadcast regulatory fees on local stations and the need for clarity in the FCC’s merger review process, as well as provided an update on NAB’s advocacy against performance royalty legislation and navigating partisan gridlock in Congress, among other topics. LeGeyt highlighted the importance of broadcasters’ grassroots involvement towards ensuring commonsense, effective laws and regulations governing the industry.
“The fact is lawmakers, the FCC, they want to hear from local broadcasters across the country,” said LeGeyt. “Certainly we can be making the policy arguments as a trade association here in Washington but our members need to tell the story of how this is impacting their service. And I would just urge you to visit our website – all the tools that you need are there – and staying in close partnership, that’s how we are going to be successful in Washington.”
LeGeyt and Carty-Sipp urged NAB members to take advantage of educational resources available to them, including professional development initiatives through the NAB Leadership Foundation, DEI resources for broadcasters to diversify their workforces and cost-saving benefit programs.
LeGeyt and Carty-Sipp gave NAB members an overview of the educational sessions and innovative products that will be on display at NAB Show New York, October 24-26. This includes showcases of Next Gen TV and radio in the automotive dashboard, sessions dedicated to strategies, insights and tools to enhance broadcast businesses, and the Marconi Radio Awards honoring radio stations and talent from around the country.
The town hall concluded with LeGeyt sharing his perspective about the ongoing deployment of NextGen TV and the work of the Future of TV Initiative.
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at www.nab.org.