NAB’s Mixed Messages on STELA

Which of these positions best reflects the National Association of Broadcasters’ position on the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA)?

a)      Sunset STELA!

b)      Pass a clean STELA!

c)       We support the House-passed version!

d)      All of the above

The truth is that the NAB and its members are currently advocating for all of the above positions.

Sometimes, the NAB takes two of these positions at once.

In his April 1 testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, NAB Gordon Smith stated: “STELA and its predecessors have achieved their intended goal of fostering satellite competition to cable monopolies and NAB feels STELA should be allowed to sunset, as Congress originally intended. However, if this Committee determines that STELA should be reauthorized for another term, we support a clean bill free of controversial and unrelated provisions harmful to America’s broadcasters.”

But broadcasters aren’t simply claiming they want STELA to sunset and that STELA should be clean. They’re also supporting the House-passed version of STELA.

Following the March 25 markup by the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, the NAB issued the following statement: “From the outset, NAB has supported passage of a STELA bill that remains free of amendments that are designed to benefit behemoth pay TV companies at the expense of local broadcasters and our tens of millions of viewers. We believe the bill passed today strikes that balance.”

To be clear, the House bill is anything but “clean.” (Nor should it be, given the immediate need for updates to our antiquated video laws.)

So broadcasters are currently supporting three very different positions on STELA. It’s easy to claim you’re winning when you have three positions!

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