The Demise of Broadcasting?

Do you think that just maybe the FCC or Congress or the Obama Administration is out to get the television industry (and shortly thereafter the radio industry)? Does a socialist hate Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck?  Let us study, for a moment, a speech recently delivered by Reed Hundt, former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission: In a speech delivered at Columbia University last month, Hundt admitted that between 1994 and 1997, it was his decision to favor the Internet over broadcasting as the one and only “common medium” for the United States.

Hundt further reflects how his work then will culminate when the current FCC, under the direction of his then protégé Julius Genachowski rolls out the new National Broadband Plan. Says Hundt: “The broadband plan…will reflect…the end of the era of trying to maintain over-the-air broadcast as the common medium and the beginning of…having broadband…be the common medium.”

Back in 1994, Hundt states that “We decided…that the Internet ought to be the common medium in the United States and broadcast should not be.” The “we” he refers to includes himself, his then Chief of Staff Blair Levin, the chief architect of today’s NBP, and Julius Genachowski his then top aide and advisor.

Hundt further states that his FCC promoted the Internet in various ways, chief among them by allowing computers to connect to the Internet through telephone lines without incurring extra costs. “In other words, we stole the value from the telephone network and gave it to…society.” At the same time Hundt claims the FCC tried to suppress broadcasting by delaying the transition to HDTV, fighting a big battle against the entire thing.

In the name of Social Justice, our industry is coming under attack. It is now the perfect storm. Years of built-up hatred toward business, years of working in the trenches to establish socialists and like-minded thinkers at all levels of governmental bureaucracy, years of waiting for the right person to come along with the right ideology to become President. The battle lines are drawn and it may be that broadcasting as we know it is doomed.

At the same time broadcast networks are demanding a cut of stations’ re-transmission consent payments from cable companies or they threaten to cut off their programming to affiliates leaving them high and dry. The understanding is that any time the national networks wish, they can just take their programming directly to the cable and DTV companies. And now certain government leaders are predicting the demise of “must-carry” protection for television stations.

We are threatened…our spectrum is threatened. All in the name of social justice.

That’s 30 For Now…For What It’s Worth