Broadcasters Fighting New Localism Rules

The broadcast industry opposed attempts by the federal government to force radio and TV stations to produce more news and information tailored to the needs of their local communities.

The Federal Communications Commission is studying whether broadcasters are meeting their public-interest obligations in response to complaints from outside groups that far too many TV stations are offering little more than a steady diet of entertainment programming produced elsewhere.

But the National Association of Broadcasters, in comments filed with the FCC Monday, argued that broadcasters face intense competitive pressure that drives radio and TV stations to meet the needs of their communities.

“Given these circumstances, NAB believes that the [FCC’s inquiry] on imposing new obligations on broadcasters is neither justified nor prudent,” the trade group said.

However, EchoStar Communications Corp. said many TV stations are not providing local content, adding that stations that failed to provide such local content should not be considered “local” stations eligible for mandatory carriage by direct-broadcast satellite carriers.