According to the National Association of Broadcasters,
groups as divergent as the American Red Cross and the National Alliance on
Mental Illness (NAMI) have weighed in with the Senate Commerce Committee asking
it to preserve the must-carry/retrans system, or at least a healthy
broadcasting system. NAB argues that scrapping the regime would jeopardize
broadcasters' ability to serve the public.
In a letter to committee member James De Mint (R-S.C.) in
advance of Tuesday's hearing on the Cable Act of 1992, which created the
must-carry/retrans regime, the Central South Carolina Chapter made a pitch for
TV stations. DeMint's S. 2008 bill, which is expected to be a topic at the hearing,
would sweep away retrans regulations as well as broadcast and cable ownership
DeMint's obvious support for his own bill notwithstanding,
the regional CEO pushed him to "resist any legislative effort that would
eliminate retransmission consent," pointing out that broadcast execs serve
on their board and stations promote blood drives, first aid and CPR in addition
to relaying lifesaving info in times of emergency.
"The broadcast community is always willing to give a
helping hand to the Red Cross," said Red Cross CEO Scott Salemme.
In a letter to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), another
committee member, NAMI was less specific, but said Congress should to whatever
it takes to preserve a strong news and community service commitment by
broadcasters. Broadcasting representatives scheduled to testify at the hearing
have said deep-sixing retrans would threaten their ability to invest in that