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Rehr Picks Up Fritts’ Sword on Satellite But Avoids ‘Lobbyist’ Label

Rehr Picks Up Fritts' Sword on Satellite But Avoids 'Lobbyist' Label

New NAB President/CEO David Rehr says he will pick up where Eddie Fritts left off, trying to convince the FCC that satellite should play by the same set of rules as terrestrial radio does, at least when it comes to indecency matters.
In an address to American Women in Radio and Television conference attendees in Washington, Rehr said of XM and Sirius: “They can go to the FCC and say, ‘We’re subscription services, so you cannot regulate us.’ Yet they are in the marketplace promoting their Howard Stern broadcasts, giving away free satellite radios and providing free service to people renting cars.”
NAB maintains that the satcasters are bypassing the prohibition on locally originated programming that is part of their original license from the FCC. “We’re willing to play with all competitors, but only on a level playing field,” Rehr stated.
At least some things are changing at NAB under Rehr’s direction; he told the audience the trade group is moving away from referring to itself as a “lobbyist” for broadcast interests because that word could be seen as reactive and defensive. NAB is now focusing on calling itself an “advocate” for stations; the name associates NAB as being on the offensive and frames the debate and the direction of the organization, according to Rehr.
He congratulated AWRT on its good work; NAB helped form the organization in 1951.