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Texas Members of Congress get earful on DTC advertising, retrans consent, satellite radio

A 15-member TAB delegation met with 29 Texas Members of Congress Feb. 28 and March 1 in Washington, DC to press a handful of key industry issues under consideration in the nation's capital.

TAB encouraged lawmakers to reject the XM/Sirius satellite radio merger and resist any attempts by the cable industry to eliminate the retransmission consent process.

TAB also singled out two provisions of Senate legislation on direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising as creating an unconstitutional prior restraint of commercial speech.

The bill, S 484, is scheduled for ?mark-up? in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on March 28.

In part, the bill places a two-year moratorium on advertising any newly-approved drug and requires the Food & Drug Administration to approve all pharmaceutical advertising in advance.

A House companion measure has not yet been filed, but is expected.

TAB's DC Delegation

?We were encouraged by what we heard from many members on these issues,? said TAB Vice Chairman Jackie Rutledge of KTXS-TV Abilene.

?The members and their staff were fairly well-informed of our concerns and for the most part supported our industry's positions.?

?With lobbying on a number of broadcast issues yet to reach fever-pitch, though, TAB remains vigilant,? said TAB President Ann Arnold.

?The cable industry is desperate to eliminate retransmission consent ?? going so far as to suggest a new federal tax to pay local broadcast TV stations as a replacement for the fees cable is finally paying,? she said.

?Meanwhile, the satellite radio industry is back to its old tricks trying to win special treatment from federal regulators without living up to its national-only license or other commitments, and consumer groups have identified advertising as a chief culprit in many societal ills.?

While some Congressional observers suggest little will get done on telecommunications policy in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, TAB staff remains in constant contact with the Texas Members of Congress to ensure the industry's concerns are understood and addressed.

?It's important that all Texas broadcasters maintain close relationships with their Members of Congress so we can secure their support when an issue comes up for a vote,? Arnold said.

Contact TAB's Oscar Rodriguez for more information on Congressional lobbying efforts.

TAB's 2007 DC Delegation

  • Ray Alexander, KRGV-TV Rio Grande Valley
  • Ann Arnold, TAB President
  • Danny Baker, KTBC-TV Austin
  • Roger Bare, KHCW-TV Houston
  • Meredith Beal, KCLW Hamilton
  • Ben Downs, Bryan Broadcasting
  • Jerry & Wanda Hanszen, KGAS Carthage
  • Jason Hightower, KMOO Mineola
  • Brian Jones, Nexstar Broadcasting Corporation
  • Tom O'Brien, KXAS-TV Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Oscar Rodriguez, TAB Vice President
  • Jackie Rutledge, KTXS/KTXE/KTES-TV Abilene
  • Michael Schneider, TAB Director of Programs
  • Patti C. Smith, KVUE-TV Austin

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