FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Sen. Ron Johnson took time June 5 to meet with Wisconsin broadcasters at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center and Pai went on to tour other broadcasters in the state.
Chairman Pai was in Wisconsin as part of a “heartland trip” across the Northern Plains to speak to people about how to make the FCC work for them. He was joined by Sen. Johnson during the Wisconsin leg of his trip where he met with broadcasters and broadband providers.
More than 25 managers from Wisconsin radio and TV stations came to Milwaukee to meet with Chairman Pai and Sen. Johnson.
During the meeting, broadcasters talked with Pai and Sen. Johnson about ATSC 3.0, EEO requirements and other regulatory reforms, ownership rules, emergency alert systems, tax reform, LPFM, and net neutrality.
Chairman Pai and Sen. Johnson also got a tour of the WBA Hall of Fame, which is on display at the hotel.
Chairman Pai continued his trip by driving to Eau Claire and Durand.
In Eau Claire, Chairman Pai visited WQOW-TV to get a tour, meet the staff and ask them questions.
“The Chairman was extremely focused on the goals, priorities, and concerns of local television stations,” said WQOW-TV Vice President and General Manager Dave Booth. “He was very impressed by our station’s (and Quincy’s) commitment to the industry and to serving our communities.”
“The Chairman was fascinated by WQOW’s extensive coverage during and after the deadly tornado that struck Northwest Wisconsin on May 16,” Booth said.
In Durand, Pai visited WRDN radio where he heard from farmers who are listeners to the station who talked about the importance of the station to their work and the need for broadband for agriculture.
Chairman Pai went on the air to talk about rural communication issues and AM revitalization. WRDN also showed off a WBA award and an upgrade to AM stereo coming later this year.
“I think it’s impressive that Chairman Pai took the time to come to Durand and visit my station and meet with local residents and businesses to discuss FCC issues that affect us,” WRDN General Manager Brian Winnekins said. “Radio and TV should be very excited that we have a FCC Chairman that is truly concerned about our stations, large or small and want to see all of us continue to serve our communities.”
Winnekins encouraged all WBA members to reach out to Chairman Pai with their concerns. He said the Chairman believes it is part of his job to meet with station owners and the public regarding FCC Issues.
The WBA thanks Chairman Pai and Sen. Johnson for taking time to talk with Wisconsin broadcasters about issues vital to broadcasting.