— NAB members briefed on legislative and regulatory issues facing the industry —
New National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt shared his vision and outlook for the organization and the broadcasting industry in a virtual town hall for NAB members today. LeGeyt was joined by members of NAB’s policy team for a briefing on legislative and regulatory issues facing broadcasters, as well as an update on the association’s work to support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in the industry.
LeGeyt, who assumed his position on January 1, praised broadcasters for their work during challenging times over the past two years and pledged to champion for the tools and resources broadcasters need to continue serving their communities. He said the three areas he is focused on as president and CEO are winning policy fights that ensure a broadcast business that can thrive in today’s media landscape, ensuring that NAB engages in business-oriented initiatives prioritized by the organization’s membership and restoring NAB Show’s preeminent stature as a destination for the entire broadcast community.
LeGeyt also spoke about his experience advocating for broadcasting during his 10 years at NAB and the importance of local broadcasters’ grassroots engagement in achieving legislative and regulatory success.
“You have the compelling story to tell about your stations work in their communities. And it is incumbent on all of us to ensure policymakers recognize the importance of our investigative reporting, emergency alerts and philanthropic efforts that local stations provide to their constituents,” said LeGeyt. “We need your help sharing our story with policymakers – tell them about the issues that you care about and the unique role you play in your community.”
Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Shawn Donilon spoke about the organization’s legislative priorities for 2022. Donilon highlighted NAB’s support for the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would allow broadcasters and other media outlets to better negotiate with Big Tech companies about how their content is shared online. Donilon also touted congressional support for the Local Radio Freedom Act, a resolution opposing a performance royalty on broadcast radio stations that has garnered more than 225 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and Senate. He also provided an update on the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, which would provide news media outlets with a tax credit for the hiring and retention of local news journalists, and the Broadcast VOICES Act, legislation that would reestablish a diversity tax certificate program to spur broadcast station ownership by people of color.
Chief Legal Officer and EVP, Legal and Regulatory Affairs Rick Kaplan discussed the work by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the past year on a number of issues without a full complement of commissioners, such as the Emergency Alert System, EEO data collections, foreign-sponsored programming identification and TV white spaces. Kaplan also discussed potential issues at the Commission in 2022, including the FCC’s review of local and national media ownership rules, the regulatory fee regime, accessibility of programming and regulations regarding NEXTGEN TV.
Chief Diversity Officer and President of the NAB Leadership Foundation Michelle Duke provided an update on the organization’s DEI efforts, including a virtual two-part diversity symposium NAB hosted designed to help broadcasters develop corporate DEI strategies. She also discussed upcoming initiatives such as a Broadcast and Community Organization Summit designed to strengthen relationships between broadcasters and community organizations that target diverse and underrepresented populations, as well as the development of resources to attract diverse entry-level candidates to the broadcasting industry and assist broadcasters with their diversity recruitment and retention efforts.
Following the briefing, LeGeyt and NAB staffers answered questions submitted by audience members. Among the topics covered were music licensing and radio’s relationship with performance rights organizations, cannabis advertising and the status of NEXTGEN TV’s rollout.