David Barrett: Government Should Not Scrap Local Broadcasting In Favor Of National Service
Raycom News VP Susana Schuler says broadcasters are best positioned to feed growing news appetite
John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/10/2011 11:12:29 PM
A pair of broadcast executives made a pitch in Washington Thursday night for the value of local broadcasting in the face of government calls for them to give up spectrum for wireless broadband.
"The work that local stations do in this country is extraordinary and should not be taken for granted," said David Barrett, president of Hearst TV, which owns 29 TV stations.
Barrett was accepting the First Amendment Leadership Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Foundation at a dinner in Washington. And while he talked eloquently about the need to preserve that freedom, he first talked about the need to preserve the spectrum that allows broadcasters to provide local service.
"We are, indeed, at a threshold of decision with respect to spectrum in this country and how it is used," he said. Barret hearkened back to the Communications Act of 1934 and its emphasis on localism. He said it was enlightened legislation because it rooted broadcast policy firmly in localism across over 200 markets. He said the country had been "extraordinarily well served by that spirit of localism."
Barret pointed out that the country could have built "supertransmitters" that broadcast regionally, but instead built a system that serves local communities.
"Yes, the country needs to solve spectrum challenges" and needs to be "adaptive to what goes forward here with new forms of media, wireless media and the like," he said. But "shame on us if we let policy determinations throw out the existing system that serves Americans so well in favor of a new system that would emphasize national more than local service." He told his audience they needed to press their case with legislators.
The FCC, with White House backing, wants broadcasting to free up more than a third of its current spectrum holdings to create a nationwide swath of spectrum to auction for wireless broadband. Many broadcasters fear that means those who do not give up their spectrum altogether will be required to share spectrum, reducing their ability to offer competitive service like multicasting or mobile DTV, or move to the less DTV transmission-friendly VHF band, or both.
Barrett was putting an exclamation point on the impassioned plea of First Amendment Service Award winner Susana Schuler, VP, news, for Raycom Media. She said she had a message for thos who want to "take back our spectrum....There is no worse time for such action," when there was a growing appetite for news and broadcasters were positioned to deliver it.
"Who is in a better position to inform you when a situation breaks locally or nationally, who is in better position to inform you when a dangerous storm is approaching than your local broadcaster, who is most able to hold officials accountable for the promises they make on the campaign trail, for the commitment they make to the community, for their fiscal responsibility," she asked. "who is better positioned to take on when a local consumer feels wronged, and who is more cabable of showing you what is working in your city... Noone is better positioned or more obligated than local broadcasters."
I feel the broadcaster are bandwidth hogs.. their boradcast stream ATSC is outdated.. shoud had went with CODFM .. Why is it I can stream a HIDEF show from Netflix with less that 1.2meg of bandwidth.. and They hog up 19MEG ????
Hearst is just trying to save their TV stations as the Magazine and Newspaper empire crumbles..
Free Airwaves - 3/12/2011 11:15:50 PM EST
As David was speaking about the importance of local broadcasters and the spectrum allowing them to serve in the public's interest, local communities in Japan were about to be slammed by temblors, aftershocks and tsunamis of historic magnitudes. Its people were left scrambling for "information," while cell services crashed and power was lost. Still, a tiny chip inside those Japanese mobile phones allowed shaken survivors to receive vital over-the-air, one-to-many, TV signals (under battery power). It is no wonder Japan is considering freeing-up more spectrum for broadcasters so they might provide even more mobile TV services. As the FCC offers to help Japan today, perhaps Japan can help the FCC by offering it a tidal wave of new perspective.
Kerry G. Oslund - 3/11/2011 6:39:27 PM EST
I am widely known as the "seminal author" of videography beginning in October, 1972 in AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHER magazine with "Videography. What Does It All Mean?". After spending 12 years writing, teaching, producing and directing at the original Videography Studios I left Hollywood and began deeper study into how modern humans communicate.
The key to elegant communications is "the right tool for the right job" as I learned in the USAF. Over the air free HD broadcasting is without question the best way to get the word out on breaking news of vital interest to our communities.
Streaming movies to wireless devices is like building freeways 2 lanes wide for an immediate population that needs 22 lanes [see I-5 interchange with the 805 in San Diego]. The consumer electronics industry profits enormously from the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and millions of gadgets that, during peak periods, have already taken down wireless networks.
Wireless technology is great for person to person, busines communications and social networking. It's a hog for bandwidth when it comes to gaming, streaming professionally generated content ... not to mention the loss of income to creative artists through piracy and the demise of royalty systems.
Understanding the capability of enabling technologies is key to America [and the world's] future and nothing beats broadcasting when it comes to live content, breaking news, sports, and local interest programming.
Say it ain't so! Visit bobkiger.com and learn more.
"Cruiser Bob" Kiger - 3/11/2011 6:37:13 PM EST
David is 100% Spot On! Local TV is that Instant Community Touch Point when Citizens need information. Hearst has always provided solid resources, 24/7 in every one of its markets to be ready, willing, and able to give people up to date, critical facts and information when they need it.
Remember Hurricane Warnings? When WFTV, a COX Station, used it's local Meteorologist, Tom Terry, in 2004 to first warn People Statewide that a Hurricane had changed direction. His forecasting saved thousands of lives, as people quickly moved to safer places; and this was many hours before the National Hurricane Center figured out what he saw in changing Barometric Pressure and steering winds.
Broadcasters have served this Country very well; and for free. We have earned our status; our viewer loyalty and trust; and we deserve to continue to serve and protect. It costs the Government '0', nothing, to allow the best information source in the Country to continue to serve the 200+ DMAs around the country.
Mike Schweitzer - 3/11/2011 5:10:46 PM EST
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