The FCC has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on a number of proposals that would dictate how broadcasters serve their local communities. Many of these proposed rules would place additional regulatory burdens on local radio and television stations.
Basically, this means that they are considering the reinstatement of rules which were abandoned in the 1970s dictating not only local content, but how and when it may be presented on the air. The only way to correct the faulty assumption that local broadcasters are out of touch with the needs of their communities is for them to hear from you, our readers.
“Now is the time for every broadcaster in America to make sure the FCC understands the extraordinary lengths that stations go to serve our communities,” said NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr. “From emergency weather warnings to AMBER Alerts, broadcasters are a lifeline to communities in need. Local stations are also cherished partners with countless charities, raising tens of millions of dollars through on-air fundraising. Broadcasters need to educate the Commission on our efforts, and to make certain that public policymakers get a complete picture of our unparalleled commitment to localism and public service.”
Local radio raises billions of dollars every year for causes ranging from animal welfare to disaster assistance. The idea that local radio is out of touch with community needs is a myth that needs to be dispelled. In addition, depriving stations of autonomy in deciding how much local content they may produce and air will have a homogenizing effect on the airwaves, one that would be detrimental to the industry as a whole.
“Your involvement and the advertising we received through (WKHL) in support of this significant endeavor was critical to our accomplishment and we are most appreciative.”
—Marty Hauhuth and Polly Lynch of Positive Directions, a local substance abuse treatment center, in a thank-you letter to WKHL-FM in Stamford, Connecticut for the station’s role in organizing and promoting a July benefit concert
That looks like local content with a positive impact to me. As does this:
“With all the complications from Hurricane Frances, the one bright star was our local
radio station (WWJB-AM 1450). All the radio hosts dedicated their time to keep us
informed throughout the power outages. They were a voice in the dark reassuring us, and
all my deepest gratitude goes out to them for all they contributed to relieve our despair.”
Everyone who listens to the radio is familiar with the variety of fund drives, fundraisers, and community projects embraced by broadcast radio. The number of charitable foundation and organizations that have entrenched relationships with our media is simply staggering and includes groups such as The March of Dimes, The United Way, and others. Please take the time to contact the FCC and make your stand on this vitally important issue known.
Make your voices heard, the deadline for comments is April 28, 2008: