Nexstar CEO says broadcasters have received “virtually zero” deregulatory help from the GOP during the Bush administration.
The Democratic takeover of the House and possibly the Senate in yesterday’s midterm elections will probably not have much impact on broadcasting, Nexstar Broadcasting Group CEO Perry Sook said this morning.
“For the last six years, the Republicans have controlled the legislative and executive branches of government and I would ask how much deregulatory help the industry has received,” he said during his third-quarter conference call with securities analysts. “I think the answer is virtually zero.”
“It’s hard to assume that there will be more deregulatory help” with the branches of government split between the parties, he said. “But I also think it is hard to assume less than zero.”
Sook suggested the most likely outcome of the elections is gridlock. “I don’t imagine a Republican executive branch and a Democratic legislative branch will agree on much over the next two years. Furthermore, I’m not sure how much the House and Senate are going to agree on anything.”
Sook was still optimistic that the FCC might still forge ahead with its plan to relax the ownership rules to allow small-market duopolies—a move that would benefit Nexstar more than most companies.
“The FCC will still have a three-to-two Republican majority for the rest of the Bush presidency,” Sook pointed out.
And, he noted, that broadcasters are “pretty much united” in their support for relaxation of the duopoly rules.
To generate some grassroots support, Sook said that Nexstar has set up a Web site—www.preservelocaltv.com—that reminds viewers of the good things that the Nexstar stations do and urges them to contact their government officials in support of ownership deregulation.
“I can tell you that in less than two months, over a quarter of a million of letters and e-mails have been sent from our Web site to Congress, the executive branch and members of the FCC,” Sook said.