NAB Concerned About Enforcement Bureau Proposal

The National Association of Broadcasters is concerned that an FCC proposal to potentially close Enforcement Bureau field offices and cut staff could have an adverse impact on its members.

Radio Worldhad reported (the cuts were previously reported by Communications Daily) that Enforcement Bureau chief Travis LeBlanc circulated a memo to that effect, saying that the FCC under the plan "would reduce the number of field agents from 63 to 33, reduce the number of director positions from 21 to five and cut support staff as well..." 

"The Commission recently completed a thorough, data-driven review of our field programs with an eye toward improving efficiency while meeting our responsibilities both today and in the future," said an FCC spokesperson said in response to the story. "The commissioners are considering a proposal to meet these goals."

“This is a potentially troubling development, particularly as the FCC begins encouraging spectrum sharing among different types of communications services," said Dennis Wharton in response to both stories. "Having a robust interference enforcement presence in FCC field offices is critical to ensuring that consumers receive the services that they expect.”

NAB has interference concerns about the way the FCC is setting up the incentive auction repacking framework in which TV stations and wireless companies may be close neighbors on the same of adjacent channels. In addition, the FCC and the National Telecommunications & Information Administration are teaming up on a "Model City" program to test advanced spectrum sharing among different services. The administration has made it clear that advanced spectrum sharing is one way to free up more spectrum from government use. In fact, they just announced an April 15-16 joint workshop on establishing that "Model City."

An NTIA source speaking on background said that while government user sharing is a focus, the workshop is also aimed at looking at other possible participants and what bands might be included in the test. Broadcasters already agreed to share ENG spectrum with DOD to help clear the AWS-3 band for the just-concluded auction of that spectrum.

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.