Chamber of Commerce Calls Localism Proposals 'Harmful'


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce weighed in Wednesday against Federal Communications Commission proposals to boost broadcast localism.

In a release Wednesday, the chamber only said it wanted the commission to "reconsider" the proposals, which include enchanced reporting requirements that will boost paperwork. But it also said they would "impose harmful, outdated regulations."

The chamber was looking at the new regulations from the perspective of their impact on small businesses. According to the FCC, the chamber said, 70% of TV stations (and 95% of radio stations) qualify as small businesses.

"For these small businesses operating with limited full-time staff and funds, regulations that substantially increase paperwork, administrative costs and labor needs will force them to change their business structure and focus their resources on satisfying the needs of government rather than on the needs of their local communities," vice president William Kovacs said.

The localism proposals include requiring broadcasters to list what types of programming they air in a variety of new categories -- they must already tell the FCC about kids’ programs and programs of local community interest; consulting with community advisory boards on what shows serve their communities; locating the main studio in the station’s city of license; having someone physically present at a station at all times; and adhering to FCC guidelines on minimum hours of local programming, either per week or as a percentage of local programming, that would be taken into account at license-renewal time.