Leahy Cancels Speech to Broadcasters

Had series of floor votes that he could not miss

Sen. Patrick Leahy was unable to speak to broadcasters Tuesday. He had been scheduled to address some 400 broadcast execs in town for their annual pilgrimage to Capitol Hill and the FCC for some face time.

According to the National Association of Broadcasters, which hosts the annual fly-in, Leahy had a series of floor votes that he could not miss. Broadcasters were getting a briefing on the upcoming convention in Las Vegas instead, then turned loose for some strategy sessions before fanning out Wednesday.  A Leahy spokesman there were "many, many" floor votes that were called beginning at 2 p.m. -- he was scheduled to speak at 2:15, and there was "no window" in between to get across town to make the speech. The transportation bill has become a vehicle for lots of unrelated items, and the senator needed to be there to vote on various amendments to the bill, the spokesman pointed out.

Among the key issues they will be pressing: retransmission consent -- don't fix it because it is not broke; spectrum auctions -- make sure broadcasters who remain behind, which NAB suggests will be most of its members, have the same reach and interference protections; media ownership -- get rid of those duopoly rules; and localism -- don't require political files to be placed online or new sponsorship reporting requirements.