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Broadcasting group spent $3.2M on lobbying in 3Q

The National Association of Broadcasters spent more than $3.2 million in the third quarter to lobby the federal government on such topics as the use of wireless spectrum for television broadcasts and contract talks between cable operators and TV station owners.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The National Association of Broadcasters spent more than $3.2 million in the third quarter to lobby the federal government on such topics as the use of wireless spectrum for television broadcasts and contract talks between cable operators and TV station owners.

That compares with about $3.4 million a year ago and in the second quarter.

The Federal Communications Commission has said that it hopes to persuade TV stations to give up roughly 120 megahertz of spectrum in exchange for a cut of auction proceeds. Wireless companies have been seeking more spectrum to build or expand services. The FCC's proposal would require federal legislation.

Broadcasters have said they would support the auction as long as TV stations' participation is voluntary. But they also worry that TV broadcasting would be re-allocated to spectrum that is less desirable, harder to find and prone to signal interference.

NAB also lobbied on rules that govern fee disputes between TV station owners and pay-TV distributors such as Comcast Corp. The pay-TV distributors want more clout in negotiations over the fees they pay broadcasters to carry stations as part of monthly packages. In the past, disputes have led to blackouts of channels for days or weeks at a time. Broadcasters prefer keeping the existing rules as they look to the fees as a way to balance out the ups and downs of the advertising market.

The NAB also lobbied for a federal mandate that would require all new cellphones to come with a built-in FM radio chip. Other issues include federal legal protections for reporters who do not want to reveal their confidential sources and regulations related to online privacy and advertising, including the marketing of food to children.

NAB lobbied Congress, the White House and other government agencies in the third quarter, according to the disclosure form filed with the House clerk's office on Oct. 20. The group represents television and radio broadcasters; its boards include executives from Gannett Co., Comcast's NBCUniversal, CBS Corp., and Univision Communications Inc.