National Association of Broadcasters president Eddie Fritts pressed federal regulators and lawmakers to
require cable operators to carry local broadcasters' digital-television signals in his state-of-the-industry address before the NAB convention in Las Vegas
"Cable operators are carrying less than 13 percent of local DTV broadcast stations
on the air today," Fritts said. "At last count, only 107 of the 809 broadcast
DTV stations were receiving cable carriage."
Local broadcasters remain a lifeline to the local community, Fritts said. "Of
the 61 million people who watched this year's State of the Union address, 51
million watched on broadcast television," he added.
"Just as reporters are currently embedded with our military forces,
broadcasters are embedded within our communities. We are part of the unit. This
is what distinguishes us from our satellite and cable competition," Fritts said.
ABC News political analyst Cokie Roberts, receiving the NAB's "Distinguished
Service Award," said broadcasters do a good job of serving their local
communities, but she encouraged them to be even more local by covering community
heroes serving their towns and neighborhoods.
"A reporter embedded in the Boys and Girls Clubs would probably be a pretty
good idea," she said, contrasting the idea with the way TV stations are covering
community members serving in Iraq.