Fee decision shows power of association membership

In the News

Many of you are already familiar with the many benefits of WBA membership you no doubt gather from reading this newsletter regularly, but you might not always know everything that’s happening behind the scenes on behalf of broadcasters across Wisconsin.

There was recently a powerful example of this when, in August, the FCC released it’s 2021 Regulatory Fee Order. Your WBA, along with NAB and the National Association of State Broadcast Associations (NASBA) filed Joint Reply Comments arguing that an earlier proposed increase in FCC fees could not be justified and that the burden of funding the FCC must be shared by all parties benefiting from its operation, including technology companies that benefit from the FCC’s efforts to make unlicensed spectrum available.

As a result, the proposed regulatory fees for broadcasters dropped by about 9 percent, putting broadcaster regulatory fees at or below 2020 levels. The FCC also launched a proceeding to consider expanding the universe of regulatory fee payers to include new types of entities, such as “unlicensed spectrum users, especially large technology companies.”

Also, the special pandemic relief broadcasters got from the FCC in 2020 remained in place for 2021.

The decision from the FCC was great for broadcasters for both the short term and long term.

But none of this happens without support from you, our valued members.

On the legislative side, this is also a good reminder to, as former State Legislative Chair and WBA Hall of Famer Roger Utnehmer would always say, “Never miss an opportunity to invite a lawmaker into your station.”

Roger’s right. Those connections are critical when your WBA and fellow broadcasters turn to lawmakers on any number of issues. It’s a great way to help you, your station, and your fellow WBA members.

I recently spent a lovely evening with WBA Hall of Famers Terry and Sandy Shockley. In case you missed it in the last newsletter, they have come up with a great way to raise money for the WBA Foundation and show support for broadcasting in Wisconsin. They’ve funded the production of these beautiful pins and pendants that you can buy for yourself and/or for your team. They’re $25 each and all you need to do to order is contact the WBA office.

Thank you Terry and Sandy!

The WBA Hall of Fame at the Milwaukee Hilton City Center is getting ready for a close-up. We’re preparing a new round of TV and radio spots about the Hall of Fame that we’ll have available soon for you to air. Don’t miss this chance to promote the greats from Wisconsin broadcasting.

Your WBA is looking forward to having a “normal” event year in 2022, although, like so much else, it’s going to be different than from before the pandemic. Primarily, there will be no Winter Conference, but we’re excited to move the job fair from the Winter Conference to the WBA Student Seminar on March 5 at the Madison Marriott West.

The Awards Gala, Summer Conference, and Broadcasters Clinic are all currently scheduled to happen during their normal times of year. Find that schedule here.

I recently turned over the gavel as chair of the Wisconsin Society for Association Executives. It was an honor to lead this esteemed group of fellow association executives, teams, and our valued industry partners. It was a tough year but I learned lot and we demonstrated the old adage that we’re stronger together. It was most definitely a highly worthwhile experience.

Finally, we just received more amazing evidence of the power of broadcasting. Many of you ran spots this year promoting the availability of funding for Wisconsin households to get access to the Internet. Well, Wisconsin has a take-up rate of more then 20-percent of likely eligible households enrolled. The national average is 15 percent. No doubt your efforts to promote the program have made a difference.

It’s just one more example of what makes broadcasters exceptional, especially our favorite…broadcasters from Wisconsin.

Michelle Vetterkind
WBA President and CEO