Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

2017? Just You Wait!

2017 looks like a year in flux. A whole new administration is unpredictable. For us in the media, it can be a circus, in more ways than one. We have an unpredictable president, that’s for sure. Those who work for him are too. It appears the new FCC chair, Ajit Pai, plans to do some things that’ll make it easier for us to operate. The public file listener letters will go away, and even more changes are being discussed at the FCC that might make it easier for us to operate.

The funny thing is that those changes come and go, but it doesn’t seem to really make it any less work, it’s just a different kind of work. We don’t have to manually erase tape carts anymore, just push a key. 

Certainly there’s a lot to do in WBA, Our awards show has more than 1,700 entries, a record. We’re working on a project to honor Rick Jowett, our late photographer for a generation or two. We plan to be involved in Honor Flights again. This time we’re working with Vietnam vets. WBA will be working harder to replace the income lost when some NCSA clients cut budgets or simply went away. Budget cuts mean service cuts. But we’ll be working hard to replace that income or reduce services. You already know membership dues have increased. It was a long time coming. And the value surely matches the amount we now pay.

Each station will have work to do. The TV people have to deal with their spectrum project. Someone will have to get to the Legislature/Department of Revenue to change the sales tax picture to make sure any money spent by those stations becomes a deduction. The bill passed in the last legislature was faulty in that regard.

In radio, FM chips for cell phones are getting more plentiful. There were more than a thousand FM translators licensed to strengthen the signals of AM stations. That will probably start again.

The commission will probably work on cutting more of our red tape providing more flexibility to serve our audiences. The red tape needs to reflect the current marketplace, not 1977.

That’s my first newsletter to the membership. Hope to see you all in Sheboygan in June. And, thank you for your trust in electing me as WBA chair.

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