NBC Affils to FCC: JSAs Benefit Public
Affiliate association execs pitch benefits to FCC eyeing new restriction on those sharing agreements
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/30/2013 2:51:14 PM
Their first choice would be loosening those local limits, they told top FCC staffers in meetings, according to FCC documents. But failing that, they certainly don't want the FCC to tighten them by making some existing JSAs off-limits in the future. Those JSAs, the broadcast execs say, have allowed them to keep TV a "strong and valued" journalism source given ongoing restrictions on common ownership they would prefer would be "out" going.
Among the big names who held meetings over two days with commissioners and their top staffers were Affiliates president/chairman and Hearst TV president Jordan Wertlieb; David Lougee, president of Gannett's Broadcast Division and vice chairman of the affiliate group; Ralph Oakley, president of Quincy Newspapers and vice chairman of government for the affiliates; and LIN Media president and Affiliates treasurer Vincent Sadusky.
Oakley provided a case study in the value of JSAs and other sharing arrangements. He talked about KTTC-TV, the NBC/CW affiliate in Rochester/Austin, Minn.- Mason City, Iowa, and the Fox/Me-TV affiliate, KXLT-TV it has been providing services to via JSA/shared services agreement.
He said that given the "increased competition and economic challenges of the television industry," the agreement saves jobs and provides local news that would not otherwise exist. "As a stand-alone, KXLT is unable to afford providing local news," he said, while thanks to the agreement, it has a late evening newscast six nights a week that includes stories exclusive to that station as well as ones that also run on KTTC.
The execs also weighed in on incentive auctions -- protecting local TV service should be a central goal -- and retransmission consent/exclusivity rules: Preserving them is vital to their business.
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