Update from the NAB

Bruce GoldsenBy: Bruce Goldsen, Jackson Radio Works & NAB Radio Board Member

Congress Passes Legislation That Grandfathers Joint Sales Agreements: Legislation passed in December limits a 2014 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision that made most television joint sales agreements (JSAs) count toward strict ownership limits, violating media ownership rules.

Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) Announces Reduced Streaming Rates: As a result of NAB advocacy, the CRB reduced royalty rates for radio broadcasters’ streaming services by 32 percent in 2016, moving rates in the right direction.

Bipartisan House Majority Opposes a Performance Tax: Once again, holding off the record labels in an attempt to tax radio, broadcasters secured a bipartisan majority of Congress to support the Local Radio Freedom Act, acknowledging the important role stations play in their local communities.

Retransmission Consent Process Remains Intact/FCC Delays Action on Eliminating Exclusivity: NAB continues to work to ensure policymakers understand how the retransmission consent system benefits TV viewers and prevented government interference in these private, market-driven negotiations. Numerous high-profile legislators also urged the FCC not to upend programming exclusivity rules, and the FCC has delayed action on its harmful proposal.

FCC Supports AM Radio Revitalization: The FCC voted unanimously to open an application window for FM translators that would be limited to AM radio licensees. The FCC also approved various technical measures to aid AM stations and made additional proposals to reduce regulatory burdens on AM broadcasters.

Major Phone Carriers Announce Support for Radio Chips in Cell Phones: Broadcasters have worked tirelessly to promote access to radio receivers in mobile devices. In 2015, AT&T announced it will unlock FM radio in all of their future Android smartphones. T-Mobile soon followed with a commitment to activate chips. These major carriers will join Sprint in providing U.S. consumers access to a free entertainment and emergency information option through FM radio through their phones.

NAB Political Action Committee (NABPAC) Achieves Record-High Participation: Broadcasters’ grassroots engagement is making a difference in Washington, D.C. In 2015, NABPAC achieved a record-high annual fundraising total of $1.17 million. Through NABPAC, broadcasters are engaging in the political process to help shape the future of the industry. Learn more at NABPAC.com.

If you’re not currently an N.A.B. member, I hope you’ll consider joining our organization. Its mission is much different than that of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters; one concentrates on state issues, the other on federal legislative and regulatory matters of vital concern to ALL television and radio broadcasters.

As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me with any questions or comments at bgoldsen@k1053.com.

Sincerely,
Bruce Goldsen