President's Message | January 28, 2020

FCC Update

There’s a push in Congress now to correct the damage the FCC is trying to wreak on local communities and PEG channels – and it’s founded in the conservative notion that Congress makes the law, not administrative agencies.

Senator Ed Markey (MA) and Representative Anna Eshoo (CA) have authored the Protecting Community Television Act (S3218/HR5659) – a simple bill that underlines the idea that franchise fees are monetary.  The bill would deflate the FCC’s notion that so-called “in-kind” services are actually fees being charged to cable companies. And it would stop cable companies from charging back hidden fees against their franchise obligations. 

ACM endorses the legislation – because it actually reflects the legislative history of the Cable Act and the need for local media in 2020.  The bills are also being supported by the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, NATOA, US Conference of Mayors, MassAccess, TeleCommunity, the Texas Municipal League, NHCCM and many individual access centers.

As of Monday, there are 23 co-sponsors of the bill in the House and 15 co-sponsors in the Senate.  That’s a good start, but we know that we can find MANY more supporters in the coming weeks.  Please reach out to your Senators and Representatives and ask them to become co-sponsors.  And promote our petition to your viewers, volunteers partners and allies.

You can also get a summary of the issue and the legislative and legal challenge against the FCC (and other public policy issues) on our website.

And let me know if you need assistance doing that outreach – email me at ACM has materials that can help you craft your message to help your channels and all our organizations across the US.

Mike Wassenaar
President & CEO
The Alliance for Community Media