News Release

Analysts Available on National Association of Broadcasters

The National Association of Broadcasters, which lobbies for the commercial broadcast industry, is holding its annual radio convention in San Francisco through September 23. Nonviolent protests are planned. These analysts are available for interviews:

ROBERT McCHESNEY
Professor at the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois and author of Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times, McChesney said today: “The NAB is arguably the single most anti-democratic force in the U.S. today. It opposes campaign finance reform — broadcasters have little incentive to cover candidates because it is in their interest to force them to buy TV time. It is sustained by massive corporate welfare, such as the giveaway of the digital TV spectrum. They carpet bomb us with advertising and provide us with broadcast journalism obsessed with celebrity, trivia and the bottom line. As part of the massive Telecommunications Act of 1996, the NAB raised the number of radio stations a company could own from 28 nationally to unlimited. Since then, over half the U.S. radio stations have been sold and the field is now dominated by a few giants in non-competitive markets.”
More Information

JANINE JACKSON
Program director for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, Jackson said today: “We give corporate broadcasters almost unlimited control over a precious public resource — our airwaves. What do they give us in return? Infomercials, narrow political debate and commercials on kids’ TV. A pair of recent studies found that local public affairs made up less than 0.5 percent of the fare offered by commercial broadcasters. Thirty-five percent of the stations surveyed had no local news and 25 percent had no local public affairs. Minority ownership has declined 9 percent in the two years following the Telecommunications Act.”
More Information

ANDREA BUFFA
Executive director of Media Alliance, Buffa said today: “Four corporations control 80 percent of the radio market here in San Francisco, and none of them are based here. That’s a situation that’s going on all over the country. The NAB swindled the U.S. taxpayers out of the digital TV spectrum — estimated at $70 billion. We want 50 percent of digital radio for non-commercial, local programming. The airwaves should be used for the public interest. Working journalists should be allowed to flourish.”
More Information

CHARLES LEWIS
Founder and executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, which recently released the report “Off The Record: What Media Corporations Don’t Tell You About Their Legislative Agendas,” Lewis said today: “From 1996 through 1998, the NAB and five media outlets…cumulatively spent nearly $11 million to defeat a dozen campaign finance bills mandating free airtime for political candidates. Since 1996, the 50 largest media companies and four of their trade associations have spent $111.3 million to lobby Congress and the executive branch of the government.” Lewis can be contacted via Helen Sanderson.

LOUIS HIKEN
Attorney for Free Radio Berkeley and a member of the National Lawyers Guild Committee for Democratic Communications, Hiken said today: “The NAB is using its lobbying might trying to squash low power radio, which would allow local civic groups to reach their communities.”
More Information
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (415) 552-5378; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

More Information
More Information