Issues and Advocacy
NASBA members work to educate the public and public officials regarding the role of broadcasting in the lives of Americans. From disseminating important information during times of crises to entertainment and news, broadcasters across the country are working for your community everyday.
During the past two Congresses, some members of Congress, at the behest of the big record labels, introduced a bill to impose a performance tax on local radio broadcasters. The Performance Rights Act would have imposed a devastating new fee on local stations simply for airing music on the radio – airing the music that provides free promotion to the labels and artists. A new performance fee could financially cripple local radio stations putting jobs at risk, stifle new artists trying to break into the recording business and harm the listening public who rely on local radio.
The Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) should be allowed to expire at the end of 2019 – the date that Congress intentionally chose for this temporary law to sunset. Not only have its provisions become unnecessary due to dramatic changes in the media marketplace, but its reauthorization will harm some viewers who are being denied access to their local television stations. Broadcasters oppose STELAR reauthorization.
Congress should not pass legislation that hurts free, local broadcasting by modifying the tax laws to make advertising more expensive for businesses. Advertising is currently treated as an ordinary and necessary business expense – just like salaries, rent and utilities – under the U.S. tax code. This means a business can fully deduct the expense in the year it was incurred. Some in Congress have suggested changing the tax treatment of advertising for specific types of products, such as pharmaceuticals. This change would have a devastating impact on listeners and viewers of local radio and television stations that rely on advertising revenue to survive, raises significant First Amendment concerns and ignores the important consumer benefits that advertising provides.
Virtually all smartphones are manufactured with hardware capable of receiving free FM radio signals, but not all phones have this feature activated, either by choice of the phone’s manufacturer or the wireless carrier. However, Apple has not activated this feature on any of its iPhones, preventing their customers from saving battery life and data charges, while also blocking access to a critical lifeline during times of emergency.