NRB Public Policy Plans Forward-Thinking, Results-Driven 2024

NRB | January 5, 2024 | Advocacy, Advocacy News

As 2024 gets underway, NRB’s Office of Public Policy is working to advance NRB’s strategic priorities in the Nation’s capital and protect the rights and interests of Christian communicators in the legislative, regulatory, and legal arenas.

NRB’s Washington, D.C.-based policy team spearheads direct lawmaker engagement, maintains NRB’s profile on Capitol Hill, coordinates with industry colleagues, publishes policy articles and analysis, submits public filings in the agency rulemaking process, and much more. 

2023 Accomplishments At a Glance

2023 yielded strategic wins in a variety of public policy verticals, springing from NRB’s distinctive profile as the only trade association specializing in the field of religious broadcasting.

Public Policy Operations

One of the policy team’s favorite moments of 2023: relaunching an outstanding NRB email publication from years past, Washington Next Week, updated and refreshed as a biweekly correspondence about Hill happenings and the stories, signals, and dynamics we’re watching. This fast-moving year was full of opportunities to build new connections between NRB and the most influential players in Washington today. 

  • Launched a biweekly, content-packed public policy newsletter read by NRB members, coalition partners, and industry journals.
  • Completed advanced trainings and fellowships in subject areas including legislative strategy, congressional procedure, and constitutional theory.
  • Represented NRB at key meetings and special events across the Hill.
  • Strengthened partnerships with like-minded lawmakers and advocacy groups through participation in the House and Senate Values Action Teams (VAT).
  • Published two expanded and revised editions of the NRB Policy Packet.
  • Hosted ”Representing NRB Members’ Interests in Washington,” a public policy-focused forum at 2023 NRB Convention.
  • Moderated a discussion of regulatory issues with veteran FCC attorneys at the 2023 NRB Convention.
  • Hosted top lawmakers and policy experts at the 2023 NRB Convention.
  • Welcomed Mike Farris to NRB as General Counsel, enhancing NRB’s engagement in the legal space.
  • Welcomed Steven Sullivan to NRB as Policy Analyst.
  • Saw record-setting recruitment of new members to the NRB President’s Council.
  • Hosted multiple special events for the President’s Council, including a VIP meet-and-greet and reception at NRB Convention, and the 2023 Capitol Hill Media Summit (CHMS).
  • Hosted influential lawmakers and commentators at the 2023 CHMS, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Dr. Chris Scalia of AEI, Pastor Gary Hamrick of Cornerstone Chapel, Dr. Sebastian Gorka of Salem Media Group, Cheryl Chumley of The Washington Times, and Jan Jekielek of The Epoch Times
  • Presented the 2023 First Freedoms award to Dr. Kevin Roberts, President of the Heritage Foundation.
  • Supported the development of a new slate of NRB Board Resolutions affirming NRB’s commitment to advocating for Christian communicators and upholding Gospel truth. 
  • Supported and championed NRB members in their work to spread the Gospel and fight to promote favorable environments for Christian broadcasters.
Hill Advocacy

The unexpected star of 2023: AM radio. In addition to helping build momentum on one of the most important current broadcasting issues—maintaining the AM dial in new electric vehicles—NRB helped to inform lawmakers, congressional staff, and industry colleagues on a variety of industry matters from the specialized perspective of religious broadcasters.

  • Sent hundreds of letters and communications to Capitol Hill on legislative issues impacting NRB members and attracted lawmaker support for key legislation.
  • Renewed support for the Local Radio Freedom Act.
  • Renewed opposition to the Sunshine Protection Act.
  • Supported the AM for Every Vehicle Act (H.3413, S.1669).
  • Hosted one of the original cosponsors of S.1669, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), at the 2023 Capitol Hill Media Summit.
  • Represented the religious broadcasting viewpoint on two panels on AM radio
  • Held a series of productive in-person meetings to educate lawmakers on the exclusion of Christian content on virtual linear television platforms.
  • Advocated support for Israel through attendance and participation in events, trips, working groups, and Christian leader coalitions.
  • Held a regular presence at crucial industry-related hearings held by committees and subcommittees with jurisdiction of the broadcasting industry.

NRB represents Christians working in one of America’s most regulated industries. For traditional radio and television broadcasters, there has never been a more important time to have a trusted advocate monitoring regulatory actions that may improperly burden or limit the effectiveness of Christian broadcasters.

  • Filed multiple comments before the FCC in support of Christian broadcasters.
  • Opposed the nomination of Gigi Sohn to the FCC. 
  • Opposed overly burdensome foreign sponsorship identification requirements.
  • Urged the FCC to support a full transition to the ATSC 3.0 standard.
  • Worked to support local television broadcasters as the FCC considers the state of the video marketplace.
  • Facilitated a robust and informative meeting with FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington for members of the NRB President’s Council.
  • Maintained a regular presence at FCC Open Commission Meetings.

Thanks to the work of NRB General Counsel, NRB has had the opportunity to take significant steps in the legal space and explore legal strategies that stand to deliver important wins for Christian communicators. Some of our actions in this area include: 

  • Filed an amicus brief in support of the petitioners in Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop.
  • Joined likeminded amici on numerous briefs in important cases concerning freedom of speech and free exercise of religion.
  • Joined a lawsuit alongside plaintiffs The Babylon Bee, Tim Pool, and Minds, Inc., to block AB 587, a California law that would require social media companies to report content deemed “hate speech” and “disinformation” to the government.
  • NRB General Counsel Mike Farris presented a keynote address to the inaugural Religious Freedom in America Conference, hosted by Amb. Sam Brownback’s National Council for Religious Freedom (NCRF).

Looking Ahead

The policy team is monitoring several key dynamics and potential action areas for 2024. 

  • Continuing to inform lawmakers about the state of the video marketplace for noncommercial educational (NCE) and religious broadcasters. 
  • Resolving obstacles to Senate passage of the AM for Every Vehicle Act.
  • Monitoring potential FCC action on foreign sponsorship ID requirements.
  • Monitoring potential FCC inquiry into the regulatory status of virtual MVPDs. 
  • Monitoring FCC rulemaking on net neutrality.
  • Developing strategies to counter the impact of improper, activist-created “hate speech” standards on the free exchange of ideas. 
  • Considering the limits, protections, and the legal future of Section 230 and its impact on the communications marketplace.
  • Enhancing and enriching our public policy-related communications with NRB members and all audiences.
  • And much more! 

In 2023, NRB’s public policy division worked in close collaboration with the communications team to message our strategic priorities, bring NRB members up to date on impactful policy matters, and enrich our policy content with appealing visuals and pithy prose. Behind the scenes, we developed NRB’s relationships with lawmakers, Congressional staff, subject matter experts, and industry colleagues. On air, NRB seized every opportunity to communicate consistent messages on challenging issues of the day. We have every expectation of building on these successes in 2024 as we expand NRB policy operations, refine our processes, and deepen our relationships on the Hill and beyond.

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