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MAB Returns to Capitol Hill to Advocate for Broadcasters

By: Sam Klemet, MAB President and CEO

Advocate. Educate. Celebrate. Those are the three primary missions of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. And I’m proud to say, this week encompassed each of those pillars.

We educated members at the 2022 Digital Great Lakes Media Show which had more than 360 registrants and more than 40 speakers and we will celebrate our industry during the Broadcast Excellence Awards which debut next Thursday online.

And the week started with advocating for our members.

I was honored to be joined by MAB Board Chairman Scott Shigley of Liggett Communications in Washington D.C. this week during the annual National Association of Broadcasters State Leadership Conference.

Scott and I had a chance to meet with four members of Congress in-person – Representatives Tim Walberg, Lisa McClain, Haley Stevens, and Dan Kildee – to share the work of Michigan broadcasters and talk about legislation that will ensure the strength of our industry moving forward.

Washington is starting to open up from the pandemic, but the impact is still prevalent which is why not all offices are, yet, taking in-person meetings. Over the past month, the MAB and members from across the state have met with almost all of Michigan’s Congressional delegation or their staff either in-person like this week or via Zoom calls.

We’ve asked Congress for support on three primary issues.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation (JCPA) Act (H.R. 1735) would allow broadcasters and other news publishers to collectively negotiate with dominant digital platforms regarding the terms on which their content may be distributed online.

Broadcasters are a trusted source of information within our communities, and we rely on advertising revenue for our sustainability. When Big Tech giants such as Google and Facebook use our content, currently we are not compensated. However, with JCPA, that will change and create a level playing field.

Additionally, we’ve asked for support of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act.

This legislation – particularly the tax credit for the hiring and retention of local journalists – would make a significant impact in maintaining critical local news and information for all Michiganders during this challenging time.

Finally, we continue to ask all members of Congress to co-sponsor the Local Radio Freedom Act (H. Con. Res. 33) which opposes any performance tax and has strong bipartisan suuport. The legislation will ensure the strength of local radio which has been critical with providing local information during the pandemic and helping promote businesses.

Right now, seven members of the Michigan delegation are co-sponsors of the LRFA:

  • Jack Bergman (R-MI1)
  • Debbie Dingell (D-MI12)
  • Bill Huizenga (R-MI2)
  • Lisa McClain (R-MI10)
  • John Moolenaar (R-MI4)
  • Fred Upton (R-MI6)
  • Tim Walberg (R-MI7)

(L-R) MAB Chairman Scott Shigley, Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI7) and MAB President/CEO Sam Klemet

(L-R) MAB Chairman Scott Shigley, Congresswoman Lisa McClain (R-MI10) and MAB President/CEO Sam Klemet

(L-R) MAB Chairman Scott Shigley, Congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-MI11) and MAB President/CEO Sam Klemet

(L-R) MAB Chairman Scott Shigley, Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI5) and MAB President/CEO Sam Klemet

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