The Community Broadcasters Association.believes that what success it has had with low power and Class A television has been despite, not because of the regulatory environment. But it thinks it is time for a break, particularly because more than any other medium, its membership presents a mirror image of the demographic makeup of the general US population. And now it has the statistics to prove its case.
CBA notes that 43% of all LP/CA licenses have minority ownership of 51% or more, and 60% of the licenses have female participants. Its stations largely focus on local and niche programming, much of it in foreign languages
Despite the positive benefits, CBA’s Greg Herman says, “We aren’t being supported — in fact we’re being regulated out of existence.”
He said that CBA members need help getting digital operations up and running, and they need access to viewers, whether that be acquired by upgrading to full power status where practical or by getting must-carry status on local MVPDs. They’ve made their case to President Barack Obama via letter and will be taking it to the FCC today.
Herman said CBA is not looking for a one-size-fits-all regulatory approach. Diversity is the name of the game at CBA, and some operators have other ideas for putting the spectrum to use, some of which would be experimental, so multiple options will be placed on the table.”
Herman noted that under current regulatory and economic conditions, LPs/CAs employ an average of two-and-a-half people. With access to viewers, he thinks it would be a strong growth industry, and that the growth would spill over into manufacturing as DTV orders are generated. He suggested regulatory relief therefore fits in with the economic stimulus mindset prevalent in Washington at the moment.
RBR/TVBR observation: We were surprised that Commissioners Copps and Adelstrein did not get on board with Kevin Martin’s attempt to grant must carry for Class As, and members of the CBA felt snubbed when they showed up for an FCC meeting in Nashville only to discover they weren’t even on the agenda. Getting this group onto MVPDs would in fact be a great way to bulk up on minority and female licensees. Stay tuned.