Net O&Os visit Hill


As the House Appropriations Committee was voting to hem in their companies’
abilities to buy more stations, more than 70 general managers from network
owned-and-operated stations made the rounds to 160 Capitol Hill offices Wednesday to prevent the
legislation from moving any further.

The station executives said they made headway convincing members not on the
Appropriations Committee that the restrictive legislation should be stopped.

The GMs said the networks are just as committed to localism as affiliates pushing
for the bill, which would reinstate the 35% cap on one company’s TV-household reach --
a move that would put Fox and CBS above the limit.

The bill would negate the Federal Communications Commission’s June 2 decision to lift the cap to 45%.

As one example of local programming offered by his CBS O&O, KEYE-TV
Austin, Texas, GM Gary Schneider said a May segment on depression was the latest in a
series of monthly call-in shows aired by the station.

Schneider said local producers picked depression as a topic in part because
Austin has a huge supply of unemployed recent college graduates from the
University of Texas, thanks to the Internet bust and bad economy. "We’re free to
do things relevant to our market," he added.