Industry News


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Cell Tower Training Bill Introduced

John Eggerton, Radio World

House Energy & Commerce Committee member Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) has introduced a bill, the Communications Jobs Training Act of 2019, that would boost training for cell tower workers.

That comes as the FCC, over the objections of various local government officials, has taken various steps to pave the way for swifter and easier deployment of such towers with the avowed goal of closing the rural digital divide and winning the race to 5G service that will make wireless broadband a stronger competitor to wired.

The bill (HR 1848) would instruct the FCC to administer a grant program establishing and/or expanding job training for tower “service, construction and maintenance.”



FCC Requests 1% Less In 2020 Federal Budget, Trump Asks For Spectrum Fees

The Federal Communication Commission has submitted its budget request for the fiscal year that begins October 1and it would take the belt in another notch. The FCC is asking for 1% less than what Congress approved in the current year with a request that totals $335,660,000. That’s $3.95 million less than what the FCC received in the federal government’s 2019 budget. The outline says the budget is designed to create a “lean, accountable, more efficient Commission.”

The Media Bureau, the part of the FCC that has the most contact with radio stations, would receive$19.6 million in funding under the budget blueprint. If approved, that would be a 1.6% increase from the 2019 budget approved by Congress that allocated $19.4 million to the Media Bureau. Nearly all the Bureau’s funding goes toward personnel expenses.



Senators Press AT&T/DirecTV for Small-Market, Remote Area TV Signals

Say company should find way to serve those markets with their own or nearby affiliate signals
John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable

A quartet of senators has asked AT&T to make the investment to get DirecTV to the dozen remaining smaller markets where DirecTV continues to import TV station signals from New York and L.A. network affiliates rather than the relevant hometown affiliate.

The senators are also concerned about importing those distant network signals into remote markets without that affiliate, rather than importing nearby affiliate signals with more locally relevant content.

The missing 12 markets are Alpena, Mich.; Bowling Green, Ky.; Caspar-Riverton, Wyo.; Cheyenne, Wyoming/Scottsbluff, Neb.; Grand Junction, Colo.; Helena, Mont.; North Platte, Neb.; Ottumwa, Iowa; Preque Isle, Me.; San Angelo, Tex.;Victoria, Tex.; and Glendive, Mont.



NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll Finds Half of All Regular Media Consumers Still Watch Broadcast Network Regularly

A.J. Katz, AdWeek

Cable might seem like king these days, but Americans still turn to broadcast network news when they want to know what’s happening in the world of politics. At least that’s according to one recent poll.

According to a February 2019 (Feb. 24-27) NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey of 900 Americans asked about media consumption along with general questions about politics, half said they watch broadcast network news regularly; 34 percent watch Fox News; 32 percent watch CNN; 25 percent watch MSNBC; 20 percent read conservative outlets; and 19 percent read progressive outlets.



A Call to Regulate E-Cig Advertising – What is the FCC’s Role in Regulating Advertising For the Vices?

By David Oxenford on February 20, 2019

In recent months, there have been many calls to regulate e-cigs, and potentially to regulate the marketing of all sorts of vaping products, including a call last week by an FCC Commissioner in an op-ed article in USA Today.  As we wrote several months ago, these suggestions have been based in the fear that increased promotion of vaping products have led to an increase in tobacco use among children.  While the FDA has been taking efforts to crack down on flavored vaping products to reduce their appeal to kids, the makers of e-cigs still advertise, including on radio and TV.  And those advertisements bring us frequent questions about whether the FCC has rules about advertising these products.  So far, the FCC has had no real role in regulating these products.  In fact, one wonders if it really has any authority to take action against the advertising of e-cigs without Congressional action.