Posts tagged ‘incentive auctions’

Congress Protects Viewers in Spectrum Legislation

Recently, Congress voted on legislation extending the payroll tax cut, which included language authorizing a voluntary spectrum incentive auction. Viewers and broadcasters alike should be pleased with the outcome of this legislation that contains vital viewer protections, ensuring local over-the-air TV stations have the ability to innovate and provide viewers like you with the news, emergency information, sports and entertainment you expect and deserve. This result is due in large part to the advocacy of viewers who took action on this website to make their voices heard in the halls of Congress.

This is a great accomplishment, but our work is not finished. It is now up to the Federal Communications Commission to implement the legislation and conduct a spectrum incentive auction. We will continue working with Congress and the FCC to ensure that free and local TV is able to operate and innovate in a marketplace free of unnecessary regulation, preserving local television’s ability to provide viewers with the great services you currently receive and those on the horizon.

Continue visiting our website and blog for more information on how you can help to ensure an even brighter future for free, local television. And don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay updated on the future of TV.

Together, we are securing a vibrant and robust future for free, local over-the-air TV.

February 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm 2 comments

Keeping the focus where it belongs – on the viewers

Americans love their TV, but some depend on it more than others. Minority groups – such as Africans Americans, Hispanics and Asians – rely on free, local TV that is accessible with an antenna. As the government looks at ways to address the nation’s spectrum needs, broadcasters believe we must ensure these groups are not negatively impacted.

Just yesterday the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) sponsored a summit where broadcasters had the opportunity to discuss how to be sure minority groups are protected as the government discusses changes to the television spectrum.

Chris Ornelas, chief operating and strategy officer of the National Association of Broadcasters, participated in the panel “Spectrum Reallocation: How Will The National Broadband Plan’s Goals Be Realized?,” along with James Winston, executive director of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, and representatives from the wireless, telecom and cable industries.

Ornelas, who is of Hispanic and Asian descent, pointed out that approximately 15 percent of Americans get their TV exclusively from free, over-the-air broadcast and an even greater percentage of African-American, Asian, and Hispanic/Latino viewers depend solely on free television via antenna. Because minority audiences rely heavily on broadcast television, it’s important that any development in spectrum reallocation protects those audiences and the services they currently enjoy and rely on for important news and emergency information.

Read more about the panel discussion here:

January 27, 2012 at 8:55 pm Leave a comment

With no agreement from Super Committee, what’s next for spectrum?

With the co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee of Deficit Reduction announcing they were unable to reach a deal by the initial November 23 deadline, the debate over spectrum legislation returns to regular order through the committees of jurisdiction in the House and Senate.

The next committee action is a markup scheduled in the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee at the beginning of December.

Beyond the regular committee process, there is always a chance that spectrum auction legislation could be included as part of larger appropriations packages that need to be passed prior to the end of 2011.

Thank you to everyone who has helped raise awareness with their lawmakers of the importance of addressing broadcasters’ concerns in any spectrum legislation.  The Future of TV will continue to participate in the legislative process and keep you informed of any important developments surrounding the spectrum issue.

November 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm Leave a comment

Thank you for helping protect free local TV

Kids in the neighborhood may be enjoying summer vacation, but this year “summer school” meant more than 135,000 Americans visited to learn more about a looming threat to local television.

In July, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), along with its member TV and radio stations, launched an on-air campaign to educate viewers and listeners about  spectrum proposals being considered as part of the debt ceiling legislation.

Early drafts of some debt ceiling plans would have authorized spectrum incentive auctions without appropriate viewer protections. This caused a great deal of concern among broadcasters and viewers that local, free TV could be in jeopardy.

After learning about the threats to their local TV, viewers made more than 50,000 phone calls and sent 75,000 emails to members of Congress to express their concerns.

It was an overwhelming demonstration of the power of local broadcasting. Viewers like you spoke out to make it clear to Congress that local TV is important and must be protected.

Because of your efforts, harmful spectrum language was ultimately stripped from the debt ceiling package.

While the fight to protect free and local TV will resume in the fall, the efforts of concerned viewers just like you stopped this most-recent threat to local broadcasting. That’s an important civics lesson any time of year.

August 13, 2011 at 3:52 am 3 comments

What About the Viewers?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has not yet released details or analysis of how a spectrum incentive auction would be conducted, and more importantly, how a subsequent repacking of the TV band would affect local stations.

Without certain viewer protections, if, after an incentive auction, the FCC tried to recapture the 20 television channels called for in its National Broadband Plan, service disruption, confusion and inconvenience for local television viewers could dwarf the viewer impact of the 2009 digital television (DTV) transition. For instance:

  • Seventy-three stations in the top 10 markets would be forced off the air;
  • More than half of all TV stations would likely need to disrupt service for millions of viewers from anywhere of a few hours up to a few weeks to accommodate repositioning of those TV channels “repacked” into a lower channel assignment;
  • Americans living in cities along the Canadian border would bear extra burdens because of international treaty obligations designed to minimize interference between Canadian and U.S. cities.

In fact, under the stated goals of the National Broadband Plan all Detroit TV stations could go dark. Other border cities that could face severe disruptions and loss of service include Buffalo, Seattle, Syracuse, Cleveland, Spokane, Rochester and Watertown, N.Y., and Flint, Mich.

With the potential for such significant viewer disruption during a repacking process, it is imperative that the protections TV stations and viewers are seeking  are included in any legislation authorizing spectrum incentive authority.

August 13, 2011 at 3:47 am 1 comment

Spectrum legislation to heat up when Congress returns

August might be the hottest month of the year, but this fall things are likely to heat up even more in Washington, D.C., as Congress considers spectrum legislation and the incentive auctions that are sure to follow. [For a little background on incentive auctions, see “What’s an incentive auction (and why should I care)?”]

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) does not oppose spectrum incentive auctions, but wants to ensure that local TV viewers are not harmed by any subsequent actions that may limit TV’s ability to innovate or jeopardize the local news, emergency information and  high-quality programming viewers value and  expect from free local TV.

NAB believes there are four key principles that must be included in any voluntary incentive auction legislation to protect both television viewers and broadcasters:

  1. Preserve viewers’ access to broadcast signals. The FCC must be directed to replicate existing station service areas and covered populations in the event of relocating TV channels (also known as repacking) within the TV band.
  2. Enable TV broadcasters to continue to innovate and offer new services to viewers. There is a concern the FCC could involuntarily move stations from the UHF to the VHF band, which would disrupt channels and hamper broadcasters’ ability to deliver innovative new services for viewers.
  3. Allow only one truly voluntary incentive auction. Multiple auctions could mean multiple disruptions across the channels.
  4. Reimburse stations for costs associated with relocating to a new channel.

NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith discussed each of these in detail during a recent congressional hearing. Review his testimony for additional information about these four critical principles.

August 13, 2011 at 3:41 am 3 comments

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