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Despite 2019 Victories, Broadcasters Face Hefty DC Agenda

- Radio & TV Alike Have Much at Stake

As I reported to members in a direct email on Jan. 17, local broadcasters scored several hugely important victories in Austin and DC alike in 2019. With Texas lawmakers on hiatus until next January, broadcasters’ major 2020 policy focus lies in DC where multiple issues threaten Radio and TV stations’ ability to serve their communities and advertisers.

TAB is dispatching more than a dozen broadcasters to DC a month from now to help advocate for our positions with the Texas Congressional delegation, one of the largest in the country. These Hill visits follow the NAB’s State Leadership Conference slated for Feb. 24.

Broadcasters’ 2020 Federal Policy Concerns:

Performance Tax

Legislation establishing a Performance Tax on Radio stations was filed last November in the House and Senate. 

TAB is pressing more Texas members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors of HConRes 20, The Local Radio Freedom Act, which is a congressional resolution opposing any new performance royalty, fee or tax on local Radio stations. 

Twenty Texans are already on record supporting Radio, leaving another 16 in the House that have remained silent on the issue.

ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees

These consent decrees ensure fair, transparent and efficient licensing that benefits all stakeholders in the music ecosystem.

Broadcasters – along with a broad coalition of digital streaming services, bars, restaurants, hotels and other venues – oppose potential modification, sunset or termination of these important antitrust decrees by the Department of Justice.

TAB is working to ensure that Congress exercises its continued oversight of this issue under a special framework for potential changes to the decrees that was included in the Music Modernization Act which passed unanimously in 2018.

Spectrum: C-band and 6 GHz

Broadcasters and our audiences rely on continued and uninterrupted use of certain spectrum bands – in addition to our primary frequency assignments for over-the-air broadcasts – under consideration for potential new 5G and unlicensed uses.

TAB is urging Congress and the FCC to ensure that in whatever changes are made to the C-band and 6 GHz bands of spectrum, broadcasters are not subject to interference with their critical, nationwide content delivery network and ability to cover live events and emergencies.


Congress wisely refused to change the fully-deductible tax treatment of advertising as part of its 2018 tax reform bill.

Broadcasters are now cautioning lawmakers to tread carefully before imposing any potential new restrictions on lawful advertisement, such as pharmaceutical advertising, while giving special consideration to the harm to local media and communities.

Retransmission Consent

Retransmission consent, along with advertising, form the two major revenue pillars for local television stations to invest in local news, weather, and emergency information as well as the most-watched entertainment programming.

Retransmission consent simply allows a local broadcast station to be compensated in exchange for a cable or satellite system to re-sell its content to subscribers for a profit. Broadcasters thank Congress for recognizing and reaffirming this unique and enduring value in recently passed satellite television legislation.

TAB is working to protect against potential attempts by the Pay-TV industry to undo that legislation.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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