Spectrum auctions are fine, say the chairs of three congressional caucuses representing minority interests, but the FCC needs to make sure those minority communities don’t lose TV service. And they note that low-power stations are particularly important.
Lawmakers who chair three congressional caucuses focused on American minority groups are concerned about how the FCC’s spectrum auctions may impact Class A and low-power stations serving minority audiences. They’ve cautioned FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski not to degrade service in repacking spectrum.
“As you know, our constituents are more dependent on broadcast television than the general population, including relying heavily on Class A and low power television (LPTV) broadcasters,” wrote the trio – Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Tex.), chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
“Further, it is critical that these auctions not stunt the growth of multicast programming, which has proven to be an effective platform for niche minority programming,” they said in a joint letter to Genachowski.
So while they applauded the FCC’s efforts to stimulate wireless communications with new spectrum, they warned against any moves which would degrade or decrease television service to minority communities.
“Given the dependence that our communities place on broadcast television, including Class A and LPTV, maintaining a robust free and local broadcasting system must remain a priority for the FCC,” the lawmakers insisted.