HOME > NEWSROOM > ARTICLES > FCC Chairman Engages on Future of Broadcasting

FCC Chairman Engages on Future of Broadcasting

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler offered his thoughts this week on what the future of broadcasting could look like. While visiting the annual tradeshow of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), an organization that has been at odds with the decisions of the FCC in recent weeks, Chairman Wheeler stated, “I strongly believe that the interests of the American people are served by a vibrant broadcasting industry and include the continuation of broadcasting’s historic role as a principal conveyor of news and entertainment, and especially of its invaluable role as ‘first informer.’ My purpose today is optimism, not opposition.”

Chairman Wheeler argued that broadcasters should expand their self-perception beyond traditional broadcasting to being key information providers on the Internet.  He noted the growth of “Over-The-Top” (OTT) online content providers like Netflix and a Pew Research Center’s study showing a third of Americans getting accessing news videos online.  Wheeler declared, “Broadcast licensees are in the pole position to leverage off that trend to deliver broader OTT services anchored in local news and information.”  He suggested the FCC’s “Open Internet” (also known as “net neutrality”) and spectrum incentive auction efforts could potentially be beneficial towards such an end.

Earlier at the NAB Show, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith reflected:

Our content, our connection to local communities and our spectral efficiency make us the envy of others. We are a competitive threat. I am not sure Washington views us this way, however. On one hand, government can treat us as if we are dinosaurs and does what it can to encourage TV stations to go out of business. On the other hand, the FCC says we are so important and powerful that two TV stations can't share advertising in the same market, while it's okay for multiple cable, satellite and telecommunications operators to do so. Which is it? Too powerful or irrelevant? It can't be both.

With some stinging words directed towards the FCC, he challenged the agency to prioritize a “National Broadcast Plan” just as it had developed a “National Broadband Plan.” 

In a nod to the public tension, Chairman Wheeler joked during his remarks, “I know what some of you are thinking: Gordon Smith and Tom Wheeler mano-y-mano in Las Vegas…that sounds like an awesome UFC pay-per-view. Obviously, that’s ridiculous. If Gordon and I were to fight it would be broadcast free, over-the-air.”

  • Find the remarks of FCC Chairman Wheeler at the NAB Show here
  • Find the remarks of NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith regarding a “National Broadcast Plan” here

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: April 11, 2014

Latest News

Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton to Speak at NRB15

John R. Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is scheduled to speak on Monday, February 23, 2015, at a special event during the NRB 2015 International Christian Media Convention in Nashville, TN.

Prime Minister Netanyahu to Address Congress in March

A day after President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to issue a veto threat against new sanctions on Iran, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announced that...

Subpoena Scuffle in House Committee

Last week the House Energy & Commerce Committee started off with a scuffle over the organizational rules of the panel.

Proposed to Defeat Islamist ‘Global Jihad’

On Friday January 16th, the Center for Security Policy, an NRB associate member, held a panel event on Islamist extremism that was nationally televised by C-SPAN.

Protecting Life: How to Get the Media Message Right for This Generation

Unborn lives hang in the balance as the battle of competing values rages.

One of Many Reasons to Attend NRB15: Networking!

When it comes to strategic networking opportunities for Christian media and ministry professionals, NRB’s International Christian Media Convention is a frontrunner.

Interview Opportunities at NRB15

Attention all NRB Members, Convention Exhibitors, and Convention Sponsors!

Prepare for NRB15 with the Free Mobile-Friendly ‘My Show’ Planner

This year’s NRB International Christian Media Convention has nearly 200 exhibitors to visit. Maximize your time on the Exhibit Floor by taking a few moments now to create your My Show Planner.

Post Your Job Openings, Resumes in Front of Thousands at NRB15!

Does your organization have openings that need to be filled? Do you want more candidates to apply for a key position?

New FCC Closed Captioning Laws to Focus on Quality

The FCC issued its first set of closed captioning requirements over sixteen years ago in order to provide telecommunications for the deaf and hard of hearing.

More News