Commissioner Pai Addresses NRB President’s Council

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai addressed the NRB President’s Council at its annual Capitol Hill Media Summit this week. He began by highlighting that “religious broadcasters have long been at the forefront of the fight for freedom,” particularly noting “the vital link between the free exercise of religion and free speech.”  

Commissioner Pai, the senior Republican member of the Commission, focused extensively on the upcoming incentive auction of broadcast spectrum. In particular, he spoke about the plight of low power television (LPTV), and the devastating impact that reserving a post-auction channel for unlicensed “white space” devices would have on LPTV. “Call me old-fashioned,” he said, “but I believe that when it comes to broadcast television spectrum, broadcasters should have priority.”

The Commissioner also emphasized the importance of the effort to revitalize AM radio. He gave President’s Council members a preview of his plan to “go the extra mile to find common ground” with his colleague, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who believes an FM translator window for AM stations is “sound policy,” but wants an interim step while awaiting the spectrum auction. Nevertheless, speaking to the push for a translator window, Commissioner Pai warned, “As far as I can tell, the idea only has one vocal opponent in this country. Unfortunately for fans of AM revitalization, that opponent heads our agency.”

On a similar note, Commissioner Pai joked, “More commercial broadcasters are becoming people of faith. I asked an industry official what was behind this trend, and he told me that the answer was simple. After having tried all other options, broadcasters have concluded that prayer was their only hope of being treated fairly by the FCC.” For his part, however, he stated, “[S]o long as I have the privilege of serving in this office, you have my commitment that I will continue to do everything I can to safeguard the rule of law.”

  • Find Commissioner Pai’s full speech here.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: October 9, 2015

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