McCain Introduces Localism In Broadcasting Reform Act
February 16, 2005
Senator John McCain introduced the Localism in Broadcasting Reform Act of 2005 yesterday. The introduction comes on the heels of a press conference where the Arizona Republican admonished the broadcast industry for its lack of local political coverage.
If passed, the Localism in Broadcasting Reform Act would reduce the license term for broadcasters from eight to three years and require broadcasters to provide the FCC with information every three years on why their license should be renewed. Broadcasters would also be required to post information detailing their commitment to local public affairs programming on their Web sites.
A full review by all five FCC commissioners for five percent of all license and renewal applications would also be required. McCain's submission also calls for the FCC to complete its open proceeding on whether public interest obligations should apply to broadcasters in the digital era.
I believe this legislation is a step in the right direction," said McCain. "It will have a small impact on those stations that are currently meeting their public interest obligations, but it should have a large impact on those citizens whose local broadcaster is not meeting its obligation to serve the local community. I refuse to believe that the public interest is served by three minutes of campaign coverage and a 12 second sound bite from a candidate during a half-hour local news program. Citizens deserve more from their local broadcaster.