What do Tuesday’s election results mean for broadcasters?
At a high level, the National Association of Broadcasters looks at divided government in DC as more favorable to their two most significant broadcast legislative priorities for next Congress – STELAR (distant broadcast TV network access from satellite providers) and the radio performance tax, although the sheer number of House retirements and Democratic flips did result in a loss of 50 House Local Radio Freedom Act cosponsors that will need to be rebuilt.
Significant losses/additions: The retirement of Sen. Orrin Hatch is a significant one, but his replacement, Mitt Romney (R-UT), is no stranger to NAB leadership. Election Day brought about one additional noteworthy loss for broadcasters on the Senate side, most notably Democrat Heidi Heitkamp who was the lead Democratic sponsor of the Local Radio Freedom Act. Among others, new to the Senate ranks will be Republicans Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), both of whom have engaged significantly on broadcast issues during their tenures in the House, often on the other side of NAB.
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