Founding Fathers Got It Right on Press Freedom

By Senator Gordon Smith, President, National Association of Broadcasters

My friend and former Senate colleague John McCain was asked in 2017 whether he regards the press as the enemy of the people. “I hate the press,” responded McCain, perhaps tongue-in-cheek. “I hate you, especially. But the fact is, we need you. … If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you need to have a free and many times an adversarial press.”

McCain’s comment on NBC’s Meet the Press symbolized the Arizona senator’s on-again, off-again relationship with “the media.” But more importantly, it reflected the tension and hostility between government and “the press” that was anticipated, accepted and encouraged by our founding fathers when they adopted the First Amendment as the cornerstone of American democracy. As we honor Senator McCain’s life, it is also fitting to reflect on the audacity of the founding fathers in their embrace of free speech as a core principle of a new nation.

As a recovering politician-turned-advocate for local broadcasters in Washington, I come to this debate with a perspective from both sides. In my 16 years as an elected official — the last 12 as a U.S. senator from Oregon — I was occasionally frustrated by “the media.” But I came to understand that unfriendly press coverage, either real or perceived, comes with the territory when you become a public official. And I believed then and believe now that press criticism, fair or unfair, is the essential lifeblood of our liberty.

CONNECTICUT BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION TO HOLD GUBERNATORIAL DEBATE ON OCTOBER 18TH

Event to be staged at Infinity Music Hall & Bistro, Hartford

The Board of Directors of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association (CBA) invite you to attend a gubernatorial debate on Thursday, October 18th at 4:00 PM ET at the Infinity Music Hall & Bistro on Front Street in Hartford.  Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be available following the debate.

The debate will be produced and distributed by CBA member television stations, including WFSB-TV (Ch. 3), WTIC-TV (FOX 61), WVIT-TV (NBC Connecticut), WTNH-TV (Ch. 8), WUVN-TV (Univision), and WRDM-TV (Telemundo).  Coverage will also be provided by multiple CBA member radio stations, which include Entercom, iHeartmedia, Hall Communications, Connoisseur, Cumulus, Townsquare and other stations.

New Research Sheds Light On How Radio Works For Advertisers.

INSIDE RADIO

For a medium that’s been around for nearly a century, the broadcasting industry is just beginning to understand how, exactly, radio works to deliver results for advertisers. New research is showing how AM/FM functions in a complementary manner with other media, like TV, making those channels work harder for marketers.

According to a first-ever Nielsen study of 77,000 persons 18-49 fielded in PPM markets in March and April, 44% of Americans are light TV viewers and represent only 9% of total time spent with TV. Yet radio reaches 90% of these difficult-to-reach consumers, many of whom are younger consumers. A separate Nielsen study for a large TV network found that adding radio spots to the network’s TV campaign for a drama program’s season premiere increased the campaign’s frequency by 80%.

THE FUTURE OF TELEVISION IS … MORE TELEVISION

TV as an industry has proved itself, in an era of disruption, to be surprisingly robust and resilient.

We live in an era where Netflix is eating the world, where kids and grown-ups alike can disappear down a YouTube rabbit hole for hours on end, where the amount of time we spend watching video on our phones only ever goes up rather than down. In that world, it’s easy to extrapolate to a time where old-fashioned television is dead, killed off by a slew of younger, nimbler disruptors. The reality, however, is that TV’s business model is secure, its revenues are gargantuan, and the barriers to enter its industry have never been higher.

Radio`s Biggest Fan: Yoko Ono

Jacobs Media Strategies

Despite the brickbats and critcisms, broadcast radio has millions and millions of fans. In fact, some of them are famous - and even infamous - people. One of the most mysterious figures in music history has come out in support of the radio medium, triggering a slew of positive Twitter comments, likes, and retweets. For radio, it`s something to build on, as the industry faces an uncertain future with those up and coming consumers known as Gen Z.

‘Remarkable Shift` For Sinclair-Tribune Deal Review At FCC.

Inside Radio

In a move that could give the Federal Communications Commission political cover if it chooses to advance further media ownership deregulation in the coming quadrennial review, FCC chair Ajit Pai has thrown a high-profile TV merger into doubt.

In a surprise announcement on Monday, Pai said he has “serious doubts” about Sinclair Broadcast Group’s $3.9 billion takeover bid for Tribune Media. The combination would give the company 215 television stations nationwide—reaching 72% of U.S. households —as well as Chicago’s venerable news-talk WGN (720). Sinclair has worked to fine-tune the deal since it was announced in May 2017 to win regulatory approval, including an agreement to spin-off 23 TV stations in 18 markets to comply with ownership limits. But several of the potential bidders had ties to Sinclair, such as Dallas and Houston stations buyer Cunningham Broadcasting, which is controlled by the estate of Sinclair CEO David Smith’s mother, Carolyn Smith. And in other cases the company has said it plans to use joint sales agreements and shared services agreements with the stations it plans to sell. That’s given critics on both sides of the political aisle fresh ammunition to target the deal.

Nielsen: Hurricane Maria A Force In Increased News Listening.

New data from Nielsen Audio shows that news/talk radio stations saw a momentous spike in Puerto Rico amid the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The just-released winter 2018 survey for the Nielsen radio diary market reveals that more than 991,000 12+ listeners each week tuned to a news-formatted radio station.

This marks a dramatic increase of more than 100,000 weekly listeners from the most recent survey, Summer 2017. In Fall 2016, Nielsen reported 946,200 listeners in its survey trend; in Winter 23017, the audience was 836,400; in Spring 2017, it was 882,900 and in Summer 2017, 891,400.

Senate Votes to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

Approves CRA resolution to nullify dereg order
John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable

With the help of three Republicans, the Senate has voted by a slim margin to nullify the FCC`s effort to deregulate internet access, but it still faces an up-Hill battle that most observers believe will ultimately not be won.

The vote on the Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution (SJ Res. 52) was 52 in favor. The "ayes" included the votes of all 47 Democrats, two independents who caucus with them and moderate Republicans Susan Collins (R-Me.), John Kennedy (R-La.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Chorus of ‘Yeahs` in House For Passage Of Music Copyright Bill.

INSIDE RADIO

It wasn’t even close as the U.S. House on Wednesday unanimously approved a sweeping music copyright reform bill with a 415-0 vote. The Music Modernization Act doesn’t include a performance royalty for AM/FM airplay however it does encompass provisions that could wind up costing the radio industry more for music use in the years to come. 

LinkedIn CEO: There`s no easy fix for fake news

Sara Fischer, Mike Allen, Axios

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner tells Axios that "arguably the most important" way LinkedIn stays ahead of fake news and platform abuse is "manual curation and the role of editors."

Why it matters: Weiner suggests that fake news has been created, in part, as a result of companies moving away from vetting content.

Congress Shows Support For $2 Million Pirate Radio Fines.

FROM INSIDE RADIO

Bipartisan support for a proposal to raise the maximum fine for pirate radio to as much as $2 million emerged in the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology on Thursday. During a discussion into the proposed Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement or “PIRATE” Act, which is being circulated among members, lawmakers agreed the current fines have come up short in the effort to go after pirate radio operators. “It’s high time we pay more attention to the harm being done to consumers and broadcasters alike,” Subcommittee chair Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said.

Federal law presently allows the Federal Communications Commission to impose a maximum fine of $19,246 per day for each violation or each day up to a statutory maximum of $144,344. The proposal would boost that to as much $100,000 per day, per violation with a maximum fine allowed by law of $2 million.

Congress Considers New Missing Persons Alert.

Radio and television stations already beam alerts to find missing children and seniors, and now some in Congress think a similar system could be used to help find anyone else between the ages of 18 and 65. Modeled after Amber Alerts, the proposal would use a variety of media outlets, including radio and TV, to broadcast information about missing persons. Local police agencies would be given the decision-making authority on whether to issue an alert for broadcast. “Giving law enforcement the similar ability of an Amber alert, but for missing adults, will rapidly bring government and public resources to bear,” said Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA) who sponsored the bill.

Hawaii False Alarm Highlights Broadcasters' Role During Emergencies

The false ballistic missile warning on Jan. 13 in Hawaii has raised important questions about Americas emergency alerting apparatus and the best practices for keeping citizens informed during times of crisis. Currently, Hawaiian public safety officials, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission and Congress are reviewing what went wrong and how to prevent mistakes in the future.

This incident also offers an opportunity for everyone to review their own emergency preparedness plans. As we saw last year during the natural disasters that wrought havoc across the country from hurricanes flooding major cities to devastating wildfires to tornado outbreaks it is imperative that Americans prepare themselves, their families and their homes so they are ready if the worst happens.

2018 EAS Test Schedule

EAS RMT schedule for 2018

FCC`s Multilingual EAS Decision Faces New Legal Challenge.

Inside Radio

The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) is asking the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to review an October ruling that upheld a decision by the Federal Communications Commission not to require that stations transmit multilingual Emergency Alert System messages. MMTC argues a three-judge panel “issued an erroneous decision” when it concluded the FCC was within its authority by opting to “ignore common-sense proposals aimed at saving lives,” calling it “a case of exceptional importance raising significant public safety issues.”

ATTORNEYS GENERAL WARN OF CYBER SECURITY ISSUES

George Jepsen Alerts Connecticut Residents To Dangers

CONNOISSEUR MEDIA`S WPLR-FM FINALIST FOR TWO MARCONI AWARDS!

The National Association of Broadcasters has released the list of finalists for the 2017 NAB Marconi Radio Awards. The winners will be announced Sept. 7 at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the upcoming Radio Show.

Congratulations and good luck, WPLR 99.1 New Haven

NBC CONNECTICUT INTRODUCES "DRONE RANGERS"!

By Diana Marszalek, Broadcasting & Cable

Big-league drones are taking flight over Connecticut, where WVIT, the NBC O&O in Hartford, is unleashing its new DroneRanger fleet to boost weather and news coverage.

The DroneRanger fleet features flying machines with high-def zoom lenses and are capable of flying at night, WVIT said. The station is putting the drones to work in partnership with PhotoFlight Aerial Media.

“Drone technology allows us to apply a unique perspective to every aspect of news coverage,” said Susan Tully, the station’s president and general manager. Drones, for instance, greatly enhanced the coverage of a recent fire that destroyed a local landmark, she said.

House Gives Final legislative Approval to Bill Addressing "Libel Bullies"

Daniela Altimari, Hartford Courant

The House of Representatives late Monday unanimously approved a bill that aims to address "libel bullies" -- people who file frivolous lawsuits designed to chill free speech.

Senate Bill 981, which the House approved unanimously, allows a defendant in a civil action to file a special motion to dismiss the claim if it is related to "a matter of public concern."

SAVE THE DATE!

CTBA Convention 2017

2017 CBA CONVENTION WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25TH
UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

DETAILS TO FOLLOW IN THE WEEKS AHEAD...

The Connected Car: Radio Evolves To Keep Pace In The Dashboard.

With this story, Inside Radio launches a new series that explores how AM/FM will fit into tomorrow’s dashboard and how traditional radio may fare alongside soon-to-be in-car wireless, amid a continual outlay of high—and higher—tech. (Future chapters in the series will take a look at the innovations of individual automakers and their connected car products and strategies.) There is anxiety, for sure, but broadcasting pundits also envision an array of new opportunities for traditional radio by integrating digital innovations into the dash.

How Did The Last Nationwide EAS Test Fare?

Radio and Television Business Report

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC on Friday released its official report on the Sept. 28, 2016 Nationwide EAS Test.

Was it a success?

Over 20,000 broadcasters, cable operators, and other EAS Participants participated in the 2016 Nationwide EAS Test, totaling 95% of EAS Participants — a 25% improvement over the 2011 test.

The vast majority of these EAS Participants received and retransmitted the National Periodic Test (NPT).

The results further show that the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) version of the alert delivered superior digital sound and successfully delivered non-English alerts to those EAS Participants that wished to distribute them.

The primary purpose of the 2016 Nationwide EAS Test was to assess the reliability and effectiveness of FEMA’s IPAWS distribution architecture, which delivers content-rich EAS alerts over a secure internet gateway directly to EAS participants.

The IPAWS test message specifically included English and Spanish versions of the test alert, high quality digital audio, and text files to be used to create an accessible video crawl.

NBC CONNECTICUT WINS PRESTIGIOUS DUPONT AWARD FOR INVESTIGATIVE SERIES `CRUMBLING FOUNDATIONs`

WEST HARTFORD, CT – (December 15, 2016) – NBC Connecticut / WVIT won the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for its investigative series, “Crumbling Foundations” that exposed the cause of hundreds of homes with deteriorating concrete foundations, including the connection to a single concrete company. The duPont-Columbia awards honor the best in broadcast, documentary and online reporting.

“The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have devoted hundreds of hours in the past 18 months to determine the real scope of the problem, expose the causes that led to the deterioration in residential foundations and raise awareness about this widespread problem to help affected residents get answers and some type of relief,” said Susan Tully, President and General Manager of NBC Connecticut. “We are humbled that our investigative work has been recognized with this prestigious honor. We will continue to dig in and ask the questions that need to be asked on behalf of our viewers, as this story evolves.”

NBC Connecticut’s Troubleshooters investigation into Eastern Connecticut’s crumbling concrete foundations began in June 2015 after a local viewer called the station with a tip about a crumbling wall. Since then, the station has reported dozens of hard-hitting stories that revealed that hundreds of residents have been affected by crumbling home foundations. The Troubleshooters were also the first to report that a chemical reaction involving a naturally-occurring mineral called “pyrrhotite” causes the deterioration in the foundations. Additionally, WVIT’s investigative work prompted Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy to launch a multi-agency investigation into the cause and scope of the problem. To watch NBC Connecticut’s “Crumbling Foundations” reports, click here.

The investigation was led by Brad Drazen, News Anchor and Investigative Reporter; David Michnowicz, Photojournalist/Editor; Sharon Butterworth, Executive Producer and George Colli, Investigative Reporter.
The Alfred I. duPont Awards ceremony will take place at Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library in New York City on Wednesday, January 25, 2017. For more information about the 2017 duPont Awards winners, click here and follow on social media using the hashtag #duPont2017.

For more information about NBC Connecticut, please visit NBCConnecticut.com.

FCC Set for Possible Partisan Stalemate After Nomination Fails

The U.S. Senate adjourned without confirming Jessica Rosenworcel for a second term on the Federal Communications Commission, forcing her out of office and setting up the agency for a partisan deadlock as the Republican administration of Donald J. Trump begins.

Without other changes, the Democrat’s departure would leave the FCC hindered, with two Republicans and two Democrats on the five-member panel, until the Senate can confirm a Republican to gain a majority.

Republicans are eager to begin pruning rules passed by Democrats. “We need to fire up the weed whacker,” Ajit Pai, the agency’s senior Republican, said in a Dec. 7 speech.

Orlando Station Picks FL Early - and Gets a Trump Call

In Orlando, Cox Media Group’s news/talk “News 96.5” WDBO is basking in some post-election success. With assistance from Cox Media’s Washington DC Bureau’s Jaime Dupree—who has 30 years of experience monitoring elections—and the station’s news staff, WDBO accurately called the state of Florida for Trump two hours ahead of the AP and other national news outlets.

“It was a clear to us that it was statistically not possible for Hillary to win,” Drew Anderssen, WDBO’s director of Programming News, said in a news release. “I trusted my team and stood by their experience when we went on the air at midnight projecting Trump the winner.”

The station also landed one of a handful of interviews Wednesday morning with Trump, who, in part, told morning show host Joe Kelley: “You must have done good as we did well in Florida. We did a lot of work yesterday and one of them was calling you when we needed some help in Florida!”

Clinton, Trump Seem to Disagree on Need for Local Ads

With the Democratic National Convention underway in Philadelphia, political action committees supporting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton are lining up their media budgets for the remainder of the campaign. Super PACs are sending a surge of political ad dollars into key markets in swing states; they`ve already booked $8.267 million in ads for radio and local TV in the Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL market - the No. 1 market for groups supporting Clinton, according to tracking by the Ad Age Data Center and Kantar Media`s Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG) for ads booked for Aug. 4 to Election Day.

While Ad Age did not offer a similar analysis of spending by groups supporting Republican nominee Donald Trump, it would be unlikely that the figure would even come close to pro-Clinton spending, as Trump has not attracted nearly as much support from Super PACs.

What journalists can learn from Pokemon Go

Melody Kramer, Poynter Institute

I`m not what you could call a video game enthusiast. I think the last game I truly mastered was Tetris, and the only hazy memories I have of the original Pokemon games are my brothers shouting things to each other while playing GameBoy during car trips to see our grandmother.

Last week`s release of Pokemon Go, though, made me reconsider my lack of enthusiasm -in part because I see Pokemon Go`s augmented reality interface as a potentially useful tool for newsrooms.

Cord cutters should hope Vizio`s new smart TVs don`t spark a trend

`Tuner-Free` means extra hardware and hassle for antenna users.
Jared Newman, PC World

Vizio is making some bold moves with its latest smart TVs, but the changes aren`t all great for cord cutters.

Replacing the traditional remote control with Google Cast and a dedicated Android tablet is a wonderful idea, but Vizio is also boasting that its SmartCast 4K TVs will be `Tuner-Free.` That means they won`t have ATSC tuners onboard and therefore won`t be able to receive over-the-air (OTA) digital broadcasts from major networks such as ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and PBS. If you want to access the free (well, ad-supported) content available from those sources, you`ll need to buy an outboard tuner—along with the antenna you`d need anyway—and connect the tuner to one of the TV`s HDMI inputs. The changes will apply to all of Vizio`s 4K Ultra HD TVs with SmartCast, including the new P-Series and upcoming E- and M-Series sets.

CONNECTICUT BROADCASTERS SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

The CBA is not offering scholarships for the 2016-2017 academic year. Please check this web site in September for updates on the 2017-2018 program.

Thank You.

Here are the 2015 Scholarship Winners:

To see the album in larger sizes, click here!

Broadcast Issues

Performance Tax & Music Licensing Issues
Congress is likely to consider changes to copyright law that impact music licensing fees for radio broadcasters—including both over-the-air broadcasts and Internet transmissions (webcasting).

Advertising Restrictions and Tax Deductibility
As Congress looks towards possible tax reform, it may consider limiting or eliminating the ability of businesses to deduct the full cost of advertising in the year the advertising is purchased.

Television Retransmission Consent
Congress enacted the retransmission consent statute in 1992 to prohibit cable, satellite, telco, and other pay-TV companies from retransmitting and reselling the signals of local television stations without their consent.

Updates to the Communications Act
Congress may soon consider changes to the Communications Act (or “CommAct”), which contains many of the laws that governs local television and radio broadcasters.

TWELVE OUTSTANDING BROADCASTING PROFESSIONALS INDUCTED INTO CONNECTICUT BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION HAL

Inaugural Ceremony Held at CBA’s 60th Annual Convention

HARTFORD, CONN., October 23, 2015 – Twelve (12) outstanding broadcasters were inducted into the inaugural “Connecticut Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame” on October 20, 2015. The group of inductees was officially honored at a Luncheon Ceremony at the Hilton Hartford, as part of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association’s (CBA) 60th Annual Convention. More than 340 broadcasting professionals attended the event, as did Connecticut Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and U.S. Cong. Elizabeth Esty.

“It is a great honor for the Connecticut Broadcasters Association to recognize these 12 remarkable individuals with this celebration,” explains Klarn DePalma, Chair of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association, and Vice President and General Manager of WFSB-TV 3 Hartford, Conn. and WSHM-TV 3 and WGGB-TV 40 in Springfield, Mass. “As part of the event, each individual was introduced with a colorful video vignette that summarized their long and distinguished service to the broadcasting industry and to Connecticut."

The 2015 inductees of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame are (alphabetically):

  • The late Boyd E. Arnold of Canton;
  • Gerry Brooks of Glastonbury;
  • Pablo de Jesus Colon Jr. of Stratford;
  • Denise D`Ascenzo of Guilford;
  • Brad Davis of Bloomfield;
  • The late Arnold D’Angelo (Dean) of Rocky Hill;
  • Joe DiMaggio of Wethersfield;
  • Richard Ferguson of Westport;
  • Bill Glynn of Wethersfield;
  • The late Ed Henry of Middletown;
  • John Ramsey of West Hartford; and
  • Al Terzi of Southington.

All 12 CBA Hall of Fame honorees were elected unanimously by CBA’s Board of Directors.

The Hall of Fame was created to complement the organization’s established program of Lifetime Achievement Awards. Over the last decade, the CBA has presented Lifetime Achievement Awards to Bud Finch, Dr. Mel Goldstein, and Bob Steele – all legendary on-air talent – and Paul K. Taff, a multi-decade broadcast executive who concluded his career as the highly regarded President of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association.

Since its establishment in 1955, the Connecticut Broadcasters Association has been a respected industry leader in legal, governmental, education and community issues on both the State and National levels. Members include broadcast TV stations, radio stations, vendors and companies with a business interest in broadcasting, educational facilities, and individuals with involvement in the broadcasting industry. Member radio and TV stations make it their priority to inform residents about a wide variety of issues, and participate in the association’s public service campaigns that include the Connecticut Department of Public Safety’s Office of Statewide Emergency Telecommunications - Emergency Alert System (EAS) and AMBER Alert programs, among other efforts. For more information about the Connecticut Broadcasters Association, visit www.ctba.org or call 860-305-2038.

Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program

This program provides broadcasters with a "test run" of an FCC inspection.

The FCC recognizes a program that allows broadcasters to avoid "surprise" FCC inspections. By participating in the state broadcasting association-sponsored "alternative broadcast inspection program," or ABIP, broadcasters can find out if they have overlooked any FCC rules, and then, once in compliance, avoid most FCC inspections for three years. NOTE: The FCC always reserves the right to inspect stations, and in fact will continue to inspect stations for specific issues that the FCC believes to be a "universal" problem, or for which a specific complaint has been received about a station.

The CBA has sponsored an Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program for several years, and both the organization and the members have been pleased with the results. In some cases stations were alerted to shortcomings that they were not aware of. In other cases stations were recognized for running a "tight ship."

Participation in the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program is voluntary and is open to all broadcasters in Connecticut.

House Passes IPAWS Update

Bill was passed in the Senate in 2015
Michael Balderston, TVTechnology

WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives have passed S.1180, the Integrated Public Alert and Warning Systems Modernization Act of 2015. This bill, which was co-sponsored by Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), previously passed the Senate in July of 2015.