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July 19, 2013
Dennis Wharton
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NAB Statement on Lawmakers’ Letter to FCC on Rural Broadcasting

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In response to a letter from 57 members of the House of Representatives to the FCC urging the protection of over-the-air television in rural America during the incentive auction proceeding, the following statement may be attributed to NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith:

"Rural broadcasters often provide the only lifeline to local news, weather and emergency information for millions of Americans in isolated communities. NAB applauds lawmakers for their support and recognition of the enduring value of broadcast television to rural areas."

Below is a copy of the letter:

The Honorable Mignon Clyburn
Acting Chair
U.S. Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554

Dear Acting Chairwoman Clyburn:

As representatives of rural and mountainous communities across America, our constituents rely on local, over-the-air television received through translators and low power television stations not only for entertainment but also for critical news, weather and other information. This includes our nation's farmers, ranchers, and small, rural communities.

In authorizing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct the first-ever incentive spectrum auction, the debate in Congress centered on the important goal of relieving wireless congestion and delivering mobile broadband services by incentivizing television broadcasters to voluntarily relinquish spectrum rights that could then be purchased by wireless carriers. As part of this process, we urge the FCC not to reclaim more broadcast spectrum in rural areas than the FCC reclaims in urban areas. Our primary concern is to ensure that this plan not result in the elimination of television service for our rural constituents.

Particularly in rural America, our constituents rely heavily on translators to watch their television programming. There are over 4000 translators across the country that extend the reach of television station signals offering vital news and weather to agricultural and farming communities. Moreover, there nearly 2000 low power television stations offering niche programming important to our nation's rural areas. Therefore we encourage the FCC to do all it can to ensure viewers do not lose access to important broadcast programming through rural translators and low power television stations.

Rural America accounts for one-sixth of the total U.S. population, representing more than 50 million people. We respectfully request a response to our concerns no later than August 23, 2013 on how the upcoming incentive auctions will affect these millions of rural television viewers before the FCC proceeds with any plans that could adversely affect our constituents in rural America. Should you have any questions, please contact the House Agriculture Committee staff through Mike Dunlap at (202) 226-1188 and Andy Baker at (202) 225-3069. We appreciate your prompt attention to this very important matter.


Frank D. Lucas (R-3rd OK)
House Committee on Agriculture

Mark Amodei (R-2nd NV)
Joe Barton (R-6th TX)
Cheri Bustos (D-17th IL)
Shelley Capito (R-2nd WV)
Chris Collins (R-27th NY)
Mike Conaway (R-11th TX)
Joe Courtney (D-2nd CT)
Rick Crawford (R-1st AR)
Rodney Davis (R-13th IL)
Peter DeFazio (D-4th OR)
Suzan DelBene (D-1st WA))
Scott DesJarlais (R-4th TN)
William Enyart (D-12th IL)
Jeff Fortenberry (R-1st NE)
Pete Gallego (D-23rd TX)
John Garamendi (D-3rd CA)
Bob Gibbs (R-7th OH)
Chris Gibson (R-19th NY)
Bob Goodlatte (R-6th VA)
Paul Gosar (R-4th AZ)
Sam Graves (R-6th MO)
Ralph Hall (R-4th TX)
Vicky Hartzler (R-4th MO)
Richard Hudson (R-8th NC)
Ron Kind (D-3rd WI)
Ann Kuster (D-2nd NH)
Doug LaMalfa (R-1st CA)
David Loebsack (D-2nd IA)

Collin C. Peterson (D-7th MN)
Ranking Member,
House Committee on Agriculture

Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-1st NM)
Jim McGovern (D-2nd MA)
Mike McIntyre (D-7th NC)
Mike Michaud (D-2nd ME)
Markwayne Mullin (R-2nd OK)
Kristi Noem (R-AL SD)
Rick Nolan (D-8th MN)
Tom Petri (R-6th WI)
Chellie Pingree (D-1st ME)
Nick Rahall (D-3rd WV)
Reid Ribble (R-8th WI)
Martha Roby (R-2nd AL)
Mike D. Rogers (R-3rd AL)
Kurt Schrader (D-5th OR)
Austin Scott (R-8th GA)
David Scott (D-13th GA)
John Shimkus (R-15th IL)
Bill Shuster (R-9th PA)
Adrian Smith (R-3rd NE)
Bennie Thompson (D-2nd MS)
Mike Thompson (D-5th GA)
Mac Thornberry (R-13th TX)
Scott Tipton (R-3rd CO)
Filemon Vela, Jr. (D-34th TX)
Tim Walz (D-1st MN)
Ted Yoho (R-3rd FL)
Don Young (R-AL AK)

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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

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