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President: 'NAB' Should Get $500 Billion

As the National Association of Broadcasters convention was getting underway Monday in Las Vegas, I was checking my e-mail here at the home office when one of a daily barrage of e-mails from the White House press office–god bless ‘em–caught my eye.

It mentioned NAB in the header, and talked in the body about a letter from President Barack Obama to House and Senate leaders asking them for “a further commitment to enlarge NAB membership…”

I was impressed, NAB must have managed to get the president to give a shout-out to the industry, maybe for stepping up when his administration threw them the last-minute curve ball of moving a DTV hard date they had been working and educating towards for over a year and a half.

Or maybe it was just a show of support for free, over-the-air broadcasting in tough times, since local TV is a critical news and information source, something the president has recognized.

Oops, never mind.

When I opened the letter, it turned out to be one asking for support for “the U.S. proposal to expand significantly the resources available to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) through its New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB)…”

The letter did close by suggesting that a strong NAB “is essential to reestablishing the well-being of the global economy.”

So, if I squint and avoid the numerous mentions of IMF, we can pretend the reference to expanding NAB to $500 billion is a broad economic stimulus package to help local broadcasters pay the additional energy costs for the hundreds of stations that are keeping their analog signal going until June 12 after the government asked them to.

There would even be enough money left over to help out all those struggline newspapers.

Just a thought.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.