NAB's Gordon Smith Talks News, Cross-Ownership, Spectrum Auction At Media Institute Luncheon
November 15, 2016 at 1:17 PM (PT)
NAB President/CEO GORDON SMITH spoke to a MEDIA INSTITUTE Communications Forum luncheon in WASHINGTON TODAY (11/15), touching upon issues like broadcasters' service in reporting news, cross-ownership, and the broadcast incentive spectrum auction.
SMITH said that local broadcasters "play such an important role in our democracy" in providing "just the facts" rather than the "fake news" plaguing social media, and being the "go-to lifeline in times of crisis." Citing a PEW/KNIGHT FOUNDATION study saying that local broadcasting is, by a 7-1 margin, a more trusted news source than social media, SMITH noted that FACEBOOK's MARK ZUCKERBERG said that his company's role is not to serve as “arbiters of truth.”
SMITH also asked the FCC to move more quickly on approving ATSC 3.0 for television, and commended phone carriers who have unlocked FM chips in Android smartphones. On media ownership, he said that "outdated media ownership regulations dating back to the 1970s could hurt broadcasters’ ability to innovate and fairly compete in today’s media landscape" and called newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership prohibitions "a regulatory holdover from 1975... no longer necessary." SMITH pointed out that the Commission has approved cable and satellite mega-mergers but still holds broadcasting "hostage under decades-old, outdated rules."
On the broadcast spectrum incentive auction, SMITH called for "a successful conclusion of the auction" and added, "We must ensure that no viewer is left in the dark because a station is forced off the air or left to foot the bill for expenses that Congress did not intend and stations cannot afford."