Community Broadcasters Association to Shutter

Trade group representing Class A, LPTV stations cites cost of regulatory battles, economic downturn
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The Community Broadcasters Association (CBA), which for more than 20 years represented more than 2,800 Class A and low-power TV stations, announced Aug. 13 that it will close its doors due to the cost of its recent regulatory battles and the general economic downturn.

The group said it ceased operations on July 15 and has also canceled its trade show scheduled for fall 2009.

In a statement released Thursday, the group cited its efforts to fight “restrictive regulations that kept the Class A and LPTV industry from realizing its potential,” most recently its campaign to ensure that all coupon-eligible DTV converter boxes included an analog pass-through feature.

“Unfortunately, the cost associated with winning this important battle on behalf of the American public,” the statement continued, “combined with the lack of access to the vast majority of viewers, resulting from exclusion from MVPD systems and the severe economic downturn, ultimately created an impossible situation for the trade association and its members.”

Amy Brown, CBA’s former executive director and secretary, lamented in the statement that “some 40% of Class A and LPTV station operators believe they will have to shut down in the next year if they are not helped through the digital transition.”

“These broadcasters have been neglected by the federal government, even though they have played and continue to play an important role that cannot be duplicated by full power stations,” Brown added. “These stations have more local ownership and more minority and female ownership by far than any other mass medium, wired or wireless. Yet, we have been repeatedly excluded from laws and regulations intended to ensure access by the public to diverse thoughts and ideas.”

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