NABET Takes Aim at Joint Station Agreements

The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians says TV station news-sharing arrangements have decreased localism and diversity and have cost “quality jobs.” Broadcasters counter that without those agreements, many of those stations would not be airing news at all.

NABET made its pitch to the FCC in a content analysis of eight markets in which there is at least one news-sharing agreement. The commission is in the midst of deciding how to revise its media ownership rules.

The analysis was conducted by students at the University of Delaware’s Center for Community Research and Service and motor manned by Danilo Yanich, associate professor and the study’s author. The study was partially funded by NABET and the Communications Workers of America.

Yanich argues that the combination of resources via shared services agreements (SSA) and local marketing/management agreements (LMA) that “purportedly” relieve some of the economic burden of gathering and reporting the news had “a profound effect on the local news broadcasts,” with a ”sizeable portion” of the stories running on a combination of stations and using the same anchors, reporters, scripts and graphics.

“What the study fails to acknowledge is that many of these local TV stations would have no news at all without the financial support of a stronger broadcast partner,” says NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton.

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.