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NAB Town Hall Provides Year-End Broadcast Issues Insight


National Association of Broadcasters
National Association of Broadcasters

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) hosted a virtual town hall on Tuesday to brief NAB members on advocacy and business issues facing the broadcast industry for the remainder of the year. NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt was joined by senior executives and public policy staffers to offer updates on the association's work, priorities and initiatives.

LeGeyt began the town hall by acknowledging the critical and lifesaving work of radio and television broadcasters in communities impacted by Hurricane Ian to provide round-the-clock coverage of the storm and its aftermath, and pledged NAB's assistance to support their efforts if needed.

LeGeyt discussed the challenge of capturing legislators' focus due to the upcoming midterm elections but emphasized the opportunity for local broadcasters to meet with elected officials while they campaign in their districts. LeGeyt also reflected on his first year as president and CEO of NAB and highlighted the organization's prioritization of meeting with member stations across the country to better understand their issues, challenges and opportunities. He also discussed the organization's plans to celebrate broadcasters' public service, history and future during the centennial anniversary of NAB and NAB Show in 2023.

Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Shawn Donilon moderated a panel featuring members of NAB's legislative policy team. The panel discussed congressional legislation to impose a performance royalty on broadcast radio stations and highlighted the bipartisan support in the House and Senate for the Local Radio Freedom Act. The panel provided insight into congressional interest in addressing the dominant market power of Big Tech companies through antitrust legislation, including the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act that recently passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. The panel also discussed the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, which would create employee tax credits for local media outlets for newsroom staffing, and the impact of the midterm elections on the leadership composition of congressional committees.

Executive Vice President of Industry Affairs April Carty-Sipp previewed the upcoming NAB Show New York, held at the Javits Center October 17-20, which will include sessions, programming and exhibits for broadcasters and new educational opportunities for radio professionals. Carty-Sipp also invited NAB members to learn more about benefits available for their stations and business operations at nab.org/membership.

Chief Legal Officer and Executive Vice President of Legal and Regulatory Affairs Rick Kaplan moderated a panel featuring members of NAB's legal team. The panel focused on regulatory issues facing broadcasters at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), including regulatory fees on local broadcast stations and the association's advocacy for modernizing the fee structure to ensure all stakeholders that benefit from the Commission's work are paying their fair share. Other discussion topics included ongoing FCC proceedings regarding television broadcasters' transition to the ATSC 3.0 standard and the impact of the Commission's 2-2 partisan split on the FCC's approach to rulemakings and broadcast issues.

Chief Diversity Officer and President of the NAB Leadership Foundation Michelle Duke, shared an update on NAB's diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, including a one-day, invitation-only consortium for human resources and DEI professionals in the broadcast industry that will be held in November. Duke also announced that NAB's next Diversity Symposium will be held during the 2023 NAB Show and discussed NABLF's focus on helping the broadcast industry recruit and retain employees through programs such as the Technology Apprenticeship Program and the Media Sales Academy.

Following the briefing, Carty-Sipp moderated a Q-and-A session with LeGeyt, Donilon and Kaplan who answered questions submitted by members of the audience. Among the topics covered were lawmakers and regulators' attitude towards broadcasters in Washington, the possibility of negotiating an agreement with the record industry regarding a performance royalty on broadcast radio, rules regarding foreign sponsorship identification of broadcast programming, the upcoming election's influence on policymaking, NAB resources to help broadcasters navigate the pandemic's impact on workplace environments and the status of legislation regarding cannabis advertising.

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