Shimkus Leads Bipartisan House Effort to Protect Local TV
WASHINGTON – Congressman John Shimkus (R-Ill.) today introduced bipartisan legislation to protect local television broadcasters with Joint Sales Agreements (JSAs) that were approved before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sought to prohibit the practice on March 31, 2014. Representatives Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), Billy Long (R-Mo.), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.) are original cosponsors.
Critical in small and medium-sized media markets, JSAs enable local TV broadcasters to reduce operating costs by merging their advertising sales department with another station. The cost savings can be used to expand local news coverage through investments in things like Doppler radar systems or closed-captioning services.
“When severe weather threatens my district, many folks rely on local TV broadcasts to keep their family safe,” said Congressman John Shimkus. “The FCC says their controversial rule is intended to prevent media monopolies, but the commission has failed to complete a required review of media ownership rules in more than six years. I’m pleased to have bipartisan support for this legislation to protect vital local news and weather broadcasts from FCC’s ill-informed rule.”
“Joint Sales Agreements have increased diversity and competition in the market and we should embrace that,” said Congresswoman Renee Ellmers. “At the very least, we should allow those who have had JSAs approved by the FCC to continue those agreements. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this bill, and I will continue to protect constituents' access to the local programming they want and need.”
"The steps we are taking with this legislation will help make sure southwest Missourians continue to have high-quality access to news, weather, sports and other information on events that impact everyday life," said Congressman Billy Long. "I am concerned of the negative effects the Ozarks could feel resulting from FCC's sudden shift in policy, as both major television media markets in Missouri's Seventh District have a reliance on joint sales agreements that improve their abilities to inform the public."
“It defies common sense to prevent TV stations from working together to provide a wide array of public services, from news about community events to extreme weather updates to Amber alerts,” said Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger. “This legislation is about protecting small stations and helping them remain competitive, which benefits all Americans.”
“The FCC shouldn’t change the rules in the middle of the game and this rule risks causing serious economic harm to broadcasters who’ve made significant business decisions and investments under the previous rules,” said Congressman Kurt Schrader. “For that reason, I’m happy to join my colleagues on this bipartisan bill that protects existing joint service agreements that were approved by the FCC and in effect prior to the new FCC order of March 31, 2014.”
“This legislation has the potential to strengthen and preserve the critical line of communication local news stations provide audiences in New York’s Capital Region and other small and medium-sized markets across the nation,” said Congressman Paul Tonko. “I look forward to working in a bipartisan fashion with Congressman Shimkus and building on the already impressive record of cooperation and progress the Energy and Commerce Committee has produced this year.”
”Joint Sales Agreements offer local broadcasters an unmatched ability to contain operational costs as they work to serve their communities. With advertising dollars shrinking year-after-year, our goal is to permit local broadcasters to adapt to a changing and competitive market, not shackle them to a particular business model. This commonsense legislation accomplishes that goal and will empower local broadcasters that want to remain on the air providing critical, and often life-saving, information to all Americans in an evolving communications economy,” said Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden.
Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced identical bipartisan legislation in May.