NAB To Employ "Key Vote" Strategy


Despite some initial unhappiness from ruffled Democratic feathers, look for the National Association of Broadcasters to use a so-called "key vote" strategy as it lobbies for its various key interests, including at the committee level.

New NAB President David Rehr used the strategy at his former digs, the National Beer Wholesalers, and apparently plans to do so at NAB.

The strategy is to send a letter to legislators declaring a certain vote as a "key vote" with association members, including pointing out that the association will let its members know who voted for or against the bill.

NAB sent out such a letter in December on a budget-reconciliation bill that included the hard date and a subsidy for digital converter boxes.

"Local television broadcasters look forward to a successful and timely completion of the digital television transition. We believe the 2009 date included in the Deficit Reduction Act establishes a realistic timetable for achieving that goal," Rehr wrote Dec.18. "Please be sure that your colleagues in the House are aware that this is a key vote for the NAB, and especially local television stations. The final roll-call vote will be distributed to our entire membership."

Democrats voted against the bill, and some Democratic Commerce Committee members were said to be unhappy with the letter.

Even so, NAB is said to be looking at using the "key vote" strategy periodically, say, four or five times a year at most, which is said to be about the limit without diluting its effectiveness.

While NAB still plans to send members the vote breakdown on the reathorization bill, to unruffle some of the feathers it is also sending a letter to all the broadcast constituents of the Commerce Committee Democrats, praising those legislators for their general attentiveness to and support of broadcasting issues and asking broadcasters to relay that thanks to their representatives.