Ensign Raises Red Flag on Localism Proposal

Republican Senator from Nevada: 'Government Mandates' Not the Way to Achieve 'Laudable' Goal of Increasing Local Programming

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) was the latest to weigh in on the Federal Communications Commission's proposed localism rules.

He wrote FCC charman Kevin Martin in a letter dated April 30 that "government mandates" were not the way to achieve the "laudable"goal of increasing local programming and making sure broadcasters are responsive to their communities.

The FCC wants broadcasters to boost their reporting of local programming and take other steps, including possibly requiring them to staff stations 24/7, to locate their studios in the market in which they are licensed and to consult with local advisory boards on what local programming to air.

Ensign said the market pressure of programming to the needs of their audience will do more to ensure that they are meeting those needs "than reregulating the industry ever will."

Ensign joined a couple of dozen other senators who recently expressed their concerns about the localism proposals.