Anti-Satellite Radio (and NAB backed) legislation introduced to Congress
Yesterday, legislation H.R. 983 - backed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) - was introduced in Congress by Representative Gene Green (D-TX). The legislation was co-sponsored by Representative Charles W. "Chip" Pickering (R-MS).
The purpose of the legislation (given the title of the "Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act of 2007") is meant to "preserve local radio broadcast emergency and other services and to require the Federal Communications Commission to conduct a rulemaking for that purpose."
Interesting since currently, satellite radio services transmit local traffic, weather, and public safety information nationally, to all subscribers, regardless of location. This bill would prevent satellite radio from transmitting these local services - including public safety/emergency information.
A great example of the benefits of satellite radio - the public benefits - was during the Hurricane Katrina aftermath when XM and the Red Cross both setup Red Cross Radio. This allowed relief workers, shelters and aid stations to receive vital information during a time when local terrestrial radio was knocked out of service.
In response to H.R. 983, XM Satellite Radio has issued this statement:
"This special interest legislation would prevent satellite radio from broadcasting local traffic, weather, and emergency alert information on our national platform so that all of its more than 13 million subscribers can hear it. Why doesn't the NAB want satellite radio to be able to broadcast local Amber Alerts? Because of their selfish desire to avoid competition in the marketplace. Congress should reject this outrageous attempt to stifle competition and harm consumers."
Kudos to XM for taking a stand against this. It's amazing to me that the NAB, and those on Capitol Hill, would even consider the prevention of local emergency broadcasts, like Amber Alerts, to be a good idea.
This isn't the first that that Rep. Gene Green and his cohort Rep. Chip Pickering have tried this. Back in 2004 they tried to introduce the "Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act" which failed, and amazingly enough they've actually tried to introduce this legislation three times in the past.
So why does Rep. Gene Green and Rep. Chip Pickering seem so intent on preventing these public services from being delivered to you? Perhaps a look at their campaign contributors (here and here) might answer that. Or better yet why contact Green and Pickering find out for yourself?