With the partition between supporters and opponents fortifying across the U.S., a group of 10 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have written to the Chairwoman of the FCC expressing their support of GeoBroadcast Services’ proposal that calls for the use of FM boosters for program origination.
The House Members essentially told Jessica Rosenworcel that they approve of the FCC’s Amendment of Section 74.1231(i) of the Commission’s Rules on FM Broadcast Booster Stations, allowing geo-targeted content for radio.
GBS markets it as “ZoneCasting,” and the NAB this week at the Hispanic Radio Conference made it clear that it is dead-set against its adoption. Many believe it will collapse ad rates, leading to economic chaos for many radio broadcasters instead of pleasing marketers who desire “addressable advertising” solutions that mirror digital media.
Don’t tell that to this group of lawmakers, who assert that “the inability to use boosters to geo-target specific ZIP codes further exacerbate inequities for minorities in broadcast radio.”
It’s a viewpoint shared, at least in part, by the MMTC and NABOB, which support ZoneCasting.
The House Members state in the letter to Rosenworcel that, “with the ability to geo-target, minority owned radio stations could benefit from more advertisements sold, lower costs for small business advertisements and more curated cultural content.” They added that minority-owned broadcasters “are the standard bearers in their communities—the trusted voices for information and news for our constituents. For the declining number of minority-owned broadcasters to do more than survive and to truly thrive, they must have a fair and equitable opportunity to acquire technology to better serve, educate and inform their communities.”
Signing the letter: former Democratic Presidential hopeful Eric Swalwell, who suspended his campaign after the June 2019 primary debates in Miami during which he criticized now-President Joe Biden’s age. He was joined by Anthony Brown, Troy Carter, Joyce Beatty, Bobby Scott, Emanuel Cleaver, Danny Davis, Barbara Lee, Bennie Thompson and Hank Johnson, who led the signees.
The letter cited the WRBJ/Jackson, Miss., and KSJO/San Jose tests of ZoneCasting technology, to which they say, “The results demonstrated the technology can deliver significant public benefits without presenting technical concerns.”
The NAB presented counter-evidence, suggesting the tests didn’t go far enough.
It is now in the Commission’s hands as to whether or not the 10 House Members carry sway with Rosenworcel and her colleagues.