Sen. Cantwell Pushes Infrastructure Billions For Local Journalism

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) told an audience of broadcasters this week that she was trying to fight the trend of broadcasting workforce losses due to the pandemic and “information age changes” (translation: Big Tech), including by proposing a big government investment in local news.

Cantwell: Jobs Plan Should Buttress Broadcasting

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the powerful Senate Commerce Committee, says she is going to push for local broadcast and print media to be considered critical infrastructure that needs preserving. The Biden Administration has been pushing its massive $1.9 trillion American Jobs Plan infrastructure bill. That plan does not address local journalism as critical infrastructure in need of government support, but Cantwell said it should and she will work to try to make that happen.

Senators Question FCC Repack Time, Money

Democrats Maria Cantwell and Jeanne Shaheen ask FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to provide an analysis of whether the $1.75 billion and 39-month time frame are adequate for the repack “within 105 days after the completion of the forward portion of the [incentive] auction.”

Senators Urge Wheeler To Move On STBs

They want the commission to launch a rulemaking to allow consumers to use set-top boxes of their choice to receive MVPD programming.

Senator Blasts FCC Ownership Proposals

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is criticizing proposals to relax the FCC’s media ownership rules, calling on Chairman Julius Genachowski to have a public vote on the changes at the next commission meeting.

TVNEWSCHECK FOCUS ON WASHINGTON

Just How Voluntary Is Senate Spectrum Bill?

The Senate bill authorizing FCC TV spectrum auctions is raising red flags after an amendment was added that makes it unclear that such auctions be entirely voluntary for broadcasters. Another is that the FCC is not required to protect sufficiently those broadcasters that choose to hang on to their spectrum from increased interference and loss of service area.