The attorney at the center of a recent flare up between the NAB and the developers of the proposed geo-targeting technology known as ZoneCasting is speaking out.
Aaron Shainis represents GeoBroadcast Solutions (GBS) and spoke to Radio World about the assertions made by NAB that some of the comments filed by small broadcasters in support of the geo-targeting proposal before the FCC are suspect.
GBS is asking the FCC to revise its rules to allow limited origination of programming on booster signals. The proposal would allow for several minutes per broadcast hour to air unique, targeted programming to a specific geographic area.
Shainis, a partner with Shainis & Peltzman, replies to our questions below:
Radio World: How do you respond to the NAB’s claims that call into question the validity of some of the FCC comments you filed on behalf of some small broadcast groups?
Aaron Shainis: Let’s put it this way. I don’t represent people on anything without their permission and knowledge. The focus on the NAB’s comments are speculative at best and factually incorrect.
RW: NAB says the commission’s records reflect you are counsel to GBS but also have a business connection to GBS?
Shainis: I’m primarily legal counsel. I do have an extremely small interest in GBS.
RW: What do you make of the offensive NAB has put together to discredit GBS and stop the FCC from approving its geo-targeting technology?
Shainis: Well, first of all, NAB’s comments are totally irrelevant in large part to the validity of the product. Whatever comments they want to make about [GBS owner] Chris Devine has no relevance. GBS is not getting a license for anything. All [GBS] is asking for is a rule change for licensees to take advantage of the technology. And those licensees can take advantage of it or reject it. Simple as that.
This shows how desperate the NAB is. The real back story to this is why NAB is taking the position it is taking. Numerous tests have been done demonstrating the technology works. It is a useful technology. Why would anyone oppose this if the technology works?
Well, the NAB is playing mischief because they are being held captive by several of the large broadcast groups who don’t want to see any changes to the marketplace that they control. The iHeartMedia’s and Cumulus’ of the world are perfectly content controlling everything. They don’t want to see any disruption.
RW: Radio World reached out to Andrew DeVall from Q Media Properties to ask him about the reports which say he was unaware of the FCC comments you filed in support of ZoneCasting on behalf of Q Media. What is your take?
Shainis: I never spoke to Andrew DeVall. I’ve never spoken to him. Q Media had been a client of my partner’s who has since retired. Lee Peltzman, my former partner, either had a conversation or sent a letter to the owner of Q Media, Al Quarnstrom, probably the latter. But Quarnstrom would have had a communication from my firm and my now retired partner.
RW: Any remaining points to make on behalf of your client?
Shainis: My firm is an associate member of the NAB. I’m extraordinarily disappointed in what I consider dirty foul play by the NAB. They are slinging mud when none has to be slung. Why would they resort to that? It’s a desperate measure. It’s clear they are being held captive by several of their constituents.