John Boehner affirms commitment of GOP to rein in FCC


Newly-installed Speaker of the House spoke at a National Religious Broadcasters Association dinner in Nashville 2/27/11, and pledged to deal with an FCC that might be “potentially running roughshod over local broadcasters,” among other things.

House Republicans are concerned about a number of FCC-related issues. The focus in the early stages of the 112th Congress has been on putting the brakes on FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s network neutrality plans, and on efforts to prevent the Fairness Doctrine from ever springing back to life. The latter issue is of particular concern to conservative broadcast talkers in general and NRB in particular.

Boehner told those assembled, “The last thing we need…is the FCC serving as Internet traffic controller, and potentially running roughshod over local broadcasters who have been serving their communities with free content for decades. History’s lesson is this: freedom is a God-given right, and we, the people, must ensure government doesn’t take it away.”

According to a report on the speech from the Washington Times, Boehner also expressed his mistrust of efforts to have broadcasters return spectrum to the FCC to further wireless broadband expansion, and to tilt the playing field toward MVPDs during retransmission consent negotiations.

RBR-TVBR observation: Right now, no news is good news for broadcasters in a number of the issues before the FCC. There is no Fairness Doctrine. There is no policy regarding the return of television spectrum. Retrans is a free market business transaction. The fact that the leader of one of America’s two federal legislative bodies is also in favor of no news is definitely good news.

Pictured: John Boehner (R-OH), right, with Eric Cantor (R-VA)