Tuesday, April 9, 2013

NAB 2013: GOP Chair Vows To Protect Broadcasters

Greg Alden
A House Republican chairman promised on Monday to look out for the interests of broadcasters during the Federal Communications Commission's auction of airwave licenses.

Brendan Sasso at The Hill reports Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Communications and Technology subcommittee, emphasized that the auction will be voluntary for broadcasters.

"As the FCC moves through the incentive auction process, I intend to ensure that the Commission properly implements the provisions of the Act to preserve a vibrant post-auction broadcast environment," Walden said during a speech at the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas.

Last year, Congress authorized the FCC to encourage TV stations to give up airwave rights, called spectrum, for auction to cellphone carriers, which are struggling to keep pace with the booming demand for mobile data.

Walden, a former radio station owner, also said he plans to renew his push for FCC process reform legislation. The House passed his bill last year, but the Senate declined to take it up.

The legislation would require the FCC to demonstrate the necessity of new regulations, restrict the types of conditions the agency could impose on corporate mergers and require the agency to set binding timelines for its proceedings.

One area of agreement between many Democrats and Republicans is that Congress should change the FCC's sunshine rules to allow commissioners to talk to each other outside of public meetings. But Walden said the FCC needs more sweeping reform.
"Allowing commissioners to meet in private and doing nothing else does not sound like process reform and transparency improvement to me," he said.

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