Is Willie Nelson Available? - Broadcasting & Cable

Is Willie Nelson Available?

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Editor: The stay of the FCC's new TV-ownership rules by the federal appeals court in Philadelphia has BIA Financial officials Thomas Buono and Mark Fratrik seeing red toward the City of Brotherly Love (Airtime, Sept. 22).

Both see this action as hampering medium- and small-market TV owners from selling their properties to the networks. They point out that many are suffering from long-term debt service and capital expenses to go digital.

In reality, it's really hurting the BIA guys a lot more than the broadcasters. With the lack of sales, I suppose BIA can't make enough to buy another fancy suit, get their hair done at the salon or pay for another country club membership.

Give me a break!

Their commentary shows exactly what is wrong with the vision of today's broadcasting deregulation. It's not about public service, it's not about public trust on public airwaves. It's about the showing of the green. And I don't mean just a small profit. I am talking about mega-millions as the networks try to compete with cable TV.

Instead of whining about the lack of TV-station ownership changes, why not do something positive to help the medium- and small-market owners? Willie Nelson produced Farm-Aid, how about Broadcaster-Aid? I would hope many of these independent owners would relish this kind of support.

For me, I buy a small ad every month supporting locally owned media. Having been involved in broadcasting for 53 years, once as an owner in a small market, I know first-hand the challenges are horrendous.

The heart of community service in broadcasting remains in small to medium markets, from stations not yet owned by mega-goliath-media-monoliths.

We need less hand-wringing and more hands up.

Bill Wippel, Bill Wippel Public, Relations, Normandy Park, Wash.

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