Iowa Broadcasters to Martin: This Is Localism

Iowa Broadcasters Association Executive Director Sue Toma Details Stations’ Efforts to Combat Flooding

The head of the Iowa Broadcasters Association told Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin in a letter that some broadcasters there have been going 24/7 with commercial-free coverage of the devastating flooding while they help to marshal volunteer efforts and battle flood waters themselves.

The letter was, at least in part, an effort to battle against potential FCC initiatives to boost TV stations' localism obligations.

"I can't help but note that the Iowa floods come at a time when well-meaning but misguided activists are questioning broadcasters' commitment to localism," IBA executive director Sue Toma said in her letter.

The answers to those questions, she suggested, could be found in Iowa, where broadcasters have "once again proven their commitment to the communities that we serve," capping it off with the Churchillian assertion: "This is our finest hour."

The commission is currently considering adopting a number of localism-related rule changes, including minimum amounts of local programming, heightened reporting requirements and formal community boards that must have input on station programming decisions.