SAVE LOCAL TV
There are those today who wish to devalue Local TV to the benefit of national cable and satellite companies. Some are in Congress and some are large national conglomerates who simply wish to profit at the expense of local television stations such as us here at WBRC in Birmingham.
Here is why FREE, local TV is important:
* It empowers and connects you to the community in which you live.
* It lets you know when to break out the sunblock and when it's time to take cover from a severe weather threat.
* It honors local heroes who help those less fortunate and fills a void that may be missing in all of our communities.
* It sends a call to action to raise money to help fund important research.
* It makes our locally-elected officials accountable for their actions.
* It keeps you up-to-date on all of the events around town.
* It gives you options and choices on the best way to live your life.
However, some people don't value local TV. Cable and satellite companies are pushing Congress to allow them to drop local stations.
They hope you believe your local, free-over-the-air TV stations are just another cable or satellite channel which you must pay for.
They think you won't miss all that local television provides for you and everyone in your Local community.
Sure, you'll still get the same network, but think about what you would
* Local television stations like us here at WBRC-TV are all licensed by the federal government and are required to meet local community standards.
* Local television stations are operated in the local public interest by your local neighbors.
* Cable and satellite channels like CNN, ESPN and others are not licensed and have no obligation to serve the local interest here in Birmingham. These channels have no employees in Birmingham, either.
* National Cable and Satellite channels have no local content and are not required to serve the local public interest. They can telecast objectionable programming without consequence.
* Local TV stations like us here at WBRC, by law, must maintain a main studio locally and a public file detailing our operations in the local community.
* Cable and Satellite channels are not required to maintain a public file or anything else related to service to the local community.
* Local TV stations must comply with strict rules for broadcasting political advertising and by law must not discriminate in selling advertising to candidates.
* Periodic Federal re-licensing ensures that local TV stations comply with the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
* Cable and Satellite channels are not subject to such rules. They are not licensed to serve local communities by the FCC.
* Local TV station serve the youth in local communities with educational programming and safe-guards against inappropriate content.
* Local TV stations donate funding and airtime to charities that support our youth.
* Local TV stations nationwide contribute and help raise $10 billion annually for public service.
* Cable and Satellite channels have no mandated obligation to serve our children or to provide public service to others in our local communities.
If the only newspaper you could read is USA Today and the only TV news you could watch is CNN or one of the other national Cable news channels, who would cover the news, weather and sports here in Birmingham? Who would hold local civic and business leaders accountable? Who would protect residents from local scams? Who will get the message out to help raise funds for local charities? Who would be there for us in weather emergencies? Who would connect us with what's happening in town?
Localism is at the forefront of local TV stations' operations. In emergency situations, it is the local broadcaster, not the cable or satellite companies, on the scene providing the public with timely, and often lifesaving, information. Localism simply is not in the DNA or in the business models of national cable and satellite operators. Localism is what separates local television stations from all the other channels.
Local TV stations bring our communities together all over America.
Preserve that irreplaceable, local asset and support your hometown licensed local TV stations... All of them. Where would we be without them?
Please contact today your representatives in Congress to show your support for local TV all over America. Tell them you do not wish to see the boundaries of your local television market redrawn. Tell them you wish to see the core concept of localism protected, maintained and strengthened. Tell them satellite TV providers, like cable TV providers, should offer the services of every local TV station in every local TV market in America.
Tell your neighbors and let your representatives hear from you. Here is how to contact your representatives in Congress:
Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL)
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Representative Jo Bonner (R-01)
Representative Bobby Bright (D-02)
Representative Mike Rogers (R-03)
Representative Robert B. Aderholt (R-04)
Representative Parker Griffith (D-05)
Representative Spencer Bachus (R-06)
Representative Artur Davis (D-07)
Multiple issues of importance to broadcasters will arise during the reauthorization of SHVERA. As Congress considers how best to alter the Copyright and Communications Acts to reflect today's television market, it is imperative that the core concept of localism be maintained and strengthened. Congress has affirmed time and time again that maintenance of a strong system of locally oriented television stations licensed to local communities is needed to ensure that viewers have access to the vital news, weather and emergency information that affect their lives.
This law gives satellite companies the right to retransmit local television stations into their own markets as part of their overall program package. This local-into-local service has been a win-win situation for all. It has permitted satellite to more effectively compete with cable and provided subscribers seamless access to their local stations. However, there are currently 31 markets where the satellite companies do not offer this local service. Satellite companies should offer local channels in every market in the country. If Congress does not mandate this local coverage, satellite companies won't offer it.
Some satellite companies have asked for the right to offer programming from other markets, even if that programming is identical to the programming a local broadcaster is already offering, such as network or syndicated programming. Congress should maintain the current policies that prohibit this practice. These long-standing policies support the ability of local stations to earn the advertising revenue necessary to support important programming and services viewers depend on, including costly local news.
As Congress considers the reauthorization of SHVERA, keep in mind the concerns of your local viewers and the communities broadcasters serve. Local broadcasters serve large and small communities across the country, and the viability of local broadcasting is essential to the viewers you represent.