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State/Fed regulatory landscape, elections dominate TAB’s 2014 plans

 - Training programs expand; first debate set

TAB is kicking off 2014 with a new online sales training service and four regional sales seminars in January and February, but preparing for what comes in 2015 on the regulatory and electoral landscape will dominate the agenda for the next 12 months.

Stations’ continuing support of the NCSA program allows for the expansion of TAB’s direct member services designed to help stations increase revenues, protect newsrooms and ensure regulatory compliance. 

In addition to the new sales training offerings, TAB is expanding the successful annual newsroom workshop from one city to two. The first workshop is slated at Texas Tech University in Lubbock on March 8, and the second on Sept. 20 at UT-Austin.

Also on tap:

  • Developing a new training program to boost the pool of prospective broadcast engineers
  • Increasing the number of Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program inspectors to meet the growing demand from stations for this voluntary FCC regulatory compliance test
  • Updating five legal guides, including those covering state sales and franchise tax policies for broadcasters, specialty advertising, gaming, alcohol advertising and media law
  • Establishing a new award recognizing innovation and excellence among Texas broadcast engineers

Additionally, TAB will provide statewide satellite distribution of debates in the Lt. Governor and Governor races.

The first, covering the GOP primary race for Lt. Governor, is slated for Jan. 27 in Dallas. 

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and his three challengers, State Sen. Dan Patrick, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples all have agreed to participate.

Legislative agenda

While 2014 is a “bye” year for the Texas Legislature, it’s a time for developing the 2015 legislative agenda which is supported solely by membership dues and other non-NCSA revenues. 

Stateside, TAB will be holding grassroots meetings with state legislators and candidates for statewide office at stations throughout the state in anticipation of a vastly changed leadership lineup at major state agencies and in the Texas Senate. These efforts are key to broadcasters’ success in the 2015 legislative session.

Further meetings will be held locally and in DC with the Texas congressional delegation which is one of the largest in the country.  With several Texans in industry oversight positions, TAB continues to work hand in hand with NAB to protect the industry’s ability to serve local communities.

The primary federal focus will be on an attempt by former broadcaster Congressman Greg Walden, R-Oregon, to work this year toward a 2015 rewrite of the 1996 Telecommunications Act which could reshape the retransmission consent process, ownership rules and a host of other key regulations.

Walden chairs the House subcommittee with primary oversight of the industry.  His effort will entail a series of committee hearings, white papers and other studies that will demand broadcasters’ attention and outreach to lawmakers.

Also at the top of broadcasters’ agenda in DC is reaching majority support in the House for H. Con. Res. 16 by Congressmen Gene Green, D-Houston, and Mike Conaway, R-Midland, which opposes the record labels’ push for a Performance Tax. Co-sponsors currently number 188, 30 short of the majority.

Across town at the FCC, broadcasters are monitoring the commission’s plans for spectrum auctions, now delayed until 2015, and other issues such as AM revitalization, eliminating the sports blackout rule and expanding the online political file requirement.

An exhaustive overview of pending legal and regulatory issues has been prepared by attorneys David Oxenford and David O’Conner with TAB Associate Member Wilkinson Barker and Knauer.

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

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