The Future of TV: Protecting Viewers and Preserving Broadcast Spectrum

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1 The Future of TV: Protecting Viewers and Preserving Broadcast Spectrum Grassroots Action Kit August 2011

2 The Future of TV: Protecting Viewers and Preserving Broadcast Spectrum Contents Action Alert 3 Issue Overview 4 Background 7 The Ask 9 Spectrum 101 Primer 10 Advocacy Tips and Suggestions 15

3 Action Alert: Protecting Viewers and Preserving Broadcast Spectrum Dear Broadcaster: As you know, television broadcasters are facing a game-changing issue in Washington, D.C. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is looking to reclaim spectrum from television stations, and Congress is considering several bills that provide spectrum incentive auction authority. Proposals to reduce or repack spectrum could leave stations unable to provide innovative new services for their viewers and the promises of the digital television would be a distant memory. We must act now to ensure this doesn t happen. In July, radio and television stations across the country participated in a successful on-air campaign informing Americans of the threat to local TV stations during the debt ceiling debate. This sent a strong message to Congress that viewers must be protected in spectrum talks, and ultimately harmful legislative language was stripped out of the Senate debt ceiling bill. This was an outstanding demonstration of broadcasters grassroots strength! But while we have succeeded in protecting local television thus far, the battle is far from over, and we must continue to be vigilant on this issue this fall when Congress returns, and there will be several legislative actions that could address spectrum. We must continue educating policymakers on why certain spectrum repacking scenarios could mean the end of free, local television that 46 million Americans exclusively depend on. Here is how you can help: Request meetings with legislators during August: Your members of Congress will be back in their state and district offices during the August recess, currently scheduled for August 5 September 7. Contact your members of Congress and arrange a time to meet with them during this period. Invite them to your station, or visit their district office to share broadcasters position on this important issue. In the attached document you ll find information you need to advocate on this issue: an issue overview, background points, our ask for legislators, a simplified explanation of spectrum and general advocacy tips. Do not hesitate to contact us at (800) or for further assistance. Your grassroots action is critical to the future of our business. Thank you for reaching out to your legislators to educate them on how spectrum management policies could impact the future of free, local television. 3

4 Issue Overview: Promoting Spectrum Policies That Serve the Public Issue Wireless companies and others claim that current amounts of spectrum, or airwaves, allocated for high-speed wireless Internet service are not sufficient to meet the expected increase in consumer demand over the next few years. These companies have urged the federal government to reallocate spectrum for future wireless use. When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) staff released its National Broadband Plan last year, it reflected these arguments, calling for the reallocation of spectrum, including airwaves currently used by local television broadcasters. The FCC is seeking authority from Congress to hold spectrum incentive auctions to accomplish this goal. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is working to ensure any incentive auctions are entirely voluntary, and do not harm the viewers who rely on local television by threatening their existing services and impeding new ones, such as local news, high definition programming, multicast channels or free, mobile TV. History On March 16, 2010, the FCC presented the 359-page National Broadband Plan to Congress. The plan recommends the reallocation for wireless broadband use of 500 MHz of spectrum, with 120 MHz coming from the spectrum currently allocated to local television broadcasting. In late 2010, the FCC released a rulemaking notice that represented the first major step in efforts to implement recommendations made in the National Broadband Plan. In March and April 2011, NAB submitted two sets of comments to the FCC, stressing that: The FCC should take a holistic approach in developing a robust communications ecosystem that facilitates growth and innovation in both broadband and broadcasting; Broadcasters are enthusiastic about continuing to provide valuable and irreplaceable service to the American public; Broadcasters are rolling out innovative new services such as mobile DTV, which offers an efficient means of providing local news, emergency information, sports, network, syndicated and other programming to consumers on the go, and acts as a competitive offering in the mobile video marketplace; Broadcasters are exploring other technological innovations that could further enhance broadcasting s complementary role in the nation s communications ecosystem; and The public s reliance on over-the-air television, however it is delivered to the viewer, is increasing and will continue to increase. Additionally, NAB included a study by a former FCC official suggesting alternative solutions for alleviating wireless networks capacity issues without disruptive spectrum reallocations. The study shows there are a variety of tools at wireless carriers disposal to address these issues, but policymakers have not adequately explored them. 4

5 Issue Overview: Promoting Spectrum Policies That Serve the Public Congress is considering legislation that would provide the FCC with authority to conduct incentive auctions of currently licensed spectrum, including some TV airwaves. Incentive auctions, if approved, may involve bidders, such as wireless companies, bidding for spectrum that is voluntarily relinquished by existing licensees. Those licensees then potentially would receive a portion of the auction revenue. On June 8, the Senate Commerce Committee passed S. 911, a measure introduced by Chairman Jay Rockefeller (WV) and Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), which seeks to allocate D-Block spectrum outright to the public safety community and provide the FCC with voluntary incentive auction authority. While this legislation addresses many concerns broadcasters raised with regard to holding stations harmless in a voluntary incentive auction, NAB continues to work with interested stakeholders to preserve signal coverage areas, oppose spectrum taxes and continue the ability to innovate with multicast programming and mobile TV. S. 911 will now head to the Senate floor where Chairman Rockefeller has indicated he wants a vote before the 10th anniversary of September 11. In the House, several bills have been introduced: Reps. John Dingell (MI-15) and Gene Green (TX-29) introduced the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act, a version of the Senate incentive auction bill. NAB worked closely with Rep. Dingell to ensure the legislation recognizes the value of broadcasting and includes many of the provisions we are seeking. Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (OR-2) released a discussion draft of a spectrum bill that also includes provisions that protect local TV viewers. Most recently, Reps. Henry Waxman (CA-30) and Anna Eshoo (CA-14) released draft spectrum legislation that NAB is carefully reviewing. NAB Position While NAB does not oppose a truly voluntary incentive auction, we do want to ensure that broadcasters choosing not to participate are still able to serve their viewers with current services and future innovations. Our ask is clear: We believe any spectrum reallocation proposal should not result in harm to our viewers in the form of signal degradation or losses in coverage or services. Nor should there be spectrum taxes or forced relocation of TV channels to a less desirable area of the spectrum band. In considering the efficiency and productivity of the current uses of spectrum, the FCC and Congress should weigh the important public services broadcasters offer to all Americans free of charge. Broadcast television provides local and national news and information, universal service, educational programming and timely and vital emergency information. The future availability of these services could be threatened if free, local broadcast television were eliminated or confined to inadequate levels. 5

6 Issue Overview: Promoting Spectrum Policies That Serve the Public In addition to the services already provided by broadcasters, new options for viewers will lead to increased efficiency of spectrum use. Broadcasters can offer new services, including mobile digital television, over their existing 6 MHz channels, thereby further increasing the efficiency of the nation s over-the-air television service. Bottom Line Congress, the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration should work together to ensure spectrum policy is built on a solid framework. Local broadcasters who continue to operate should not be adversely affected by forced channel relocation, spectrum user taxes or other actions that will impede their ability to innovate and serve the public. Specifically: 1. Any spectrum auction legislation should preserve viewers access to broadcast signals by directing the FCC to replicate stations existing service areas in the event of relocating channels within the television band; 2. The legislation should enable television broadcasters to continue to innovate and offer new services to viewers by preventing the FCC from involuntarily moving stations from the UHF to the VHF band; 3. The legislation should provide certainty to viewers, broadcasters and investors for the future by permitting only one incentive auction for broadcast spectrum; and 4. Stations should be reimbursed for costs associated with relocating to new channels. 6

7 Background Sound Spectrum Policy Should Not Degrade Viewers Current Television Services or Hinder Innovations on the Horizon Broadcasters do not oppose a truly voluntary spectrum incentive auction. We want to ensure that any stations choosing not to participate in an auction are still able to serve their viewers with current services and future innovations. Even in the Internet age, broadcast TV stations remain an indispensable source of news and information for almost every U.S. household. 46 million Americans rely exclusively on free, over-the-air television; many are rural, minority and lower income Americans. The digital television (DTV) transition opened doors to new innovation and broadcasters are seizing these opportunities providing more choices for viewers. Today, broadcasters offer more than 1,400 free multicast channels, are increasing HD programming and have begun the rollout of free, mobile DTV. Sound Spectrum Policy Should be based on a Complete Accounting of the Airwaves and Consideration of all Options No reallocation plan should move forward without a complete accounting of how the airwaves are allocated, licensed and used. This information is critical to congressional efforts to make sound decisions regarding spectrum needs. As a result of the DTV transition, broadcasters returned 108 MHz of spectrum more than 25 percent of the television band. This spectrum is now being used by wireless companies to roll out long-term evolution (LTE) services. But some press reports indicate that wireless companies and others may be sitting on more than $15 billion worth of spectrum they aren t using. A recent study by a former FCC official shows that claims of a nationwide spectrum crisis are overstated and not supported by the evidence. This study suggests alternative solutions for alleviating wireless networks localized capacity issues without disruptive nationwide spectrum reallocations. Wireless carriers have a variety of technological tools to address these capacity issues, which policymakers have not adequately explored. Forcing Television Stations to Relocate Would Negatively Impact Viewers Proposals that would force relocation of television stations, or repack stations into a smaller spectrum band, would have an adverse impact on viewers, potentially denying millions access to free, local lifeline services and forcing them to pay expensive monthly subscription TV costs. These proposals could also reduce the amount of HD programming and multicast channels offered by broadcasters and also hamper new innovations, such as mobile DTV, for viewers. 7

8 Background The current television band is utilized efficiently, and forced relocation of television stations without the necessary protections would almost certainly result in increased interference and reduced coverage areas, which means some viewers might lose access to their favorite channels. Repacking the television band would cause disruption for consumers. Viewers would be required to manually re-scan their converter boxes and TV sets, and potentially need to purchase new antennas to access local stations. Forced relocation of channels would also be logistically difficult, particularly in western and rural areas that rely on TV translators and boosters. The number of viable translator and booster stations would decrease significantly. Many cable and satellite headends cannot receive a full-power broadcast signal without the use of a translator. Proposed Spectrum Taxes Would Harm Viewers Local and Diverse Television Service Proposals for new spectrum fees, or taxes, on broadcasters that decide not to voluntarily give up their spectrum would harm stations ability to continue providing high quality service, including costly programming such as local news. Even a small spectrum tax would be devastating, especially to financially struggling independent stations the new voices that Congress and the FCC have encouraged for decades. Spectrum taxes would act as another barrier to entry for minority and female broadcast owners. Spectrum taxes are a tool that the FCC could use to force broadcasters to give up some or all of their currently licensed spectrum in an auction. For example, these taxes could be raised until it becomes economically infeasible for broadcasters to remain in business, despite viewers reliance on their local stations. Congressional Oversight is Critical to Protecting Consumer Interests Given the enormous complexity of the issues at stake and the potential impact on American viewers, it is vital that Congress thoroughly examine and consider all possible approaches and solutions before the FCC begins implementing irreversible proposals for the nationwide reallocation of spectrum. We will continue to work with Congress to ensure our remaining concerns are addressed and the interests of viewers are protected as legislation moves forward. Bottom Line Any sound spectrum policy should not harm free, local television s ability to provide viewers with the news, information and high-quality programs that they expect and deserve, nor should it deny viewers the full benefits of digital television. 8

9 The Ask Local broadcasters feel strongly that sound spectrum policy should protect TV viewers by ensuring they do not lose the valuable services local stations provide or hinder innovations on the horizon. While we do not oppose a truly voluntary incentive auction, we do want to ensure any broadcasters choosing not to participate are held harmless. Specifically we ask that: 1. Any spectrum auction legislation preserves viewers access to broadcast signals by directing the FCC to replicate stations existing service areas in the event of relocating stations within the television band; 2. The legislation enables television broadcasters to continue to innovate and offer new services to viewers by preventing the FCC from involuntarily moving stations from the UHF to the VHF band; 3. The legislation provides certainty to viewers, broadcasters and investors for the future by permitting only one incentive auction for broadcast spectrum; and 4. Stations are reimbursed for costs associated with relocating to new channels. Even in the Internet age, broadcast TV stations remain an indispensable source of news and information for almost every U.S. household. Will you ensure that spectrum policy legislation does not harm free, local television s ability to provide your constituents with the news, emergency information and entertainment that they expect and deserve? 9

10 Spectrum 101: A Basic Understanding of the Invisible, Untouchable Waves That Make Things Work! There s a lot of talk about spectrum these days, especially in Washington, D.C. You may hear some wireless companies say they need more spectrum or that the U.S. is facing a spectrum crisis. But what exactly is spectrum, and why should you care about it? Welcome to Spectrum 101 a simplified explanation of spectrum, who uses it (surprise you do!), what companies do with it and what all the talk in Washington is about. Why should I care? Spectrum affects nearly everyone, though you probably don t realize it because you can t see it or touch it. Here are just a few ways you use spectrum before you ever leave your house in the morning: Wake up to your local radio station on your alarm clock Turn on your TV to check the local news and weather Turn on your smartphone or power up your laptop to check your Heat up breakfast in your microwave Push your garage door s remote control to leave the house INTERFERENCE Most receivers are designed to tune to specific frequencies because if two signals are transmitted at the same frequency, interference can occur. Interference can cause distortion on your TV picture or, in more extreme cases, cause your cordless phone call to be heard by a neighbor through their cordless phone or baby monitor! All these tasks require spectrum it s an integral part of our lives. But like the air we breathe or the electricity running through the house, we just don t think about it. So, it s no surprise we take it for granted. But what if you turned on your TV one day and had no picture, or lost some of your favorite channels? Then you d want to know what this spectrum talk is all about, right? Okay, so what is spectrum? Spectrum is perhaps better known as airwaves it s the radio frequencies used to transmit sound, data and video. It is what carries the local news from a television station to your TV, your voice between mobile phones or information from one computer to the next, wirelessly. Spectrum is a finite resource, and when different users try to send information using spectrum at the same time, it can cause interference meaning one message (or both) might not get through. So in the early 1900s, the federal government began licensing spectrum with the goal of ensuring it was used efficiently and with minimum interference. 10

11 Spectrum 101: A Basic Understanding of the Invisible, Untouchable Waves That Make Things Work! Without the legalese, can you give me a brief history of spectrum management? When the government first began regulating spectrum, the general thought was that any entity granted a spectrum license would operate in the public convenience, interest and necessity, to serve the public and the greater good. Licenses were awarded by the government after hearings where applicants made public interest commitments. Spectrum was licensed for free, but those license holders had to use it to serve the public. Both Congress and the American people wanted lots of spectrum licensees to provide a variety of services. And over time, more services were granted the right to use spectrum. For example, in the 1960s Congress mandated that all new televisions include a tuner capable of picking up channels in what is known as the ultra high frequency (UHF) band (these are channels 14 to 82). Soon, this band became more crowded with new television channels, public service communications and services other than TV. By the 1980s, talk of high-definition television (HDTV) started gaining traction while spectrum also began to be allocated to and assigned for cell phone service. During this decade, the government started awarding licenses by lottery, but spectrum was still provided for free. However, as more entities sought spectrum, the government saw a valuable resource that should be allocated differently. So in 1993, Congress passed legislation authorizing auctions as a way to allocate spectrum with the revenue from the auctions going to the U.S. Treasury. Since this time, more than $75 billion has been generated in auction income. In 2004, a critical communications milestone occurred: for the first time, more Americans used mobile phones than landline phones. It was clear that wireless devices were becoming more popular and more mainstream, which meant more spectrum was utilized. In 2009, broadcast television stations switched from analog to all-digital broadcasting. In addition to providing a better picture and more channel options for viewers, this move also freed up more than 100 MHz of spectrum that was returned to the government. When this spectrum was returned, it was auctioned to wireless providers like AT&T and Verizon this is the spectrum they are currently using to build out long term evolution (LTE) networks. Today, Americans use more than 303 million cell phones and other wireless gadgets, compared with 110 million a decade ago. And the Federal Communications Commission estimates that today s smartphones use 24 times the amount of spectrum as old phones. Tablets can use 120 times more spectrum. This is one of the issues that causes wireless companies to say they need more spectrum. 11

12 Spectrum 101: A Basic Understanding of the Invisible, Untouchable Waves That Make Things Work! Are there different types of spectrum? Yes. Spectrum is sorted by bands, and different bands are used for different services, for example: mobile phones, FM and AM radio, public safety communications, television channels, wireless broadband, etc. Why? Think of spectrum like soil. The best soil to grow corn may not be the best for grapes. That s because different soil has different characteristics similar to the spectrum band. The spectrum that is best used for operating the microwave in your kitchen would not work well for delivering hi-def TV shows to your home, so certain spectrum bands cover certain functions. These bands are also known as frequency ranges. You may have heard the terms UHF (which stands for ultra high frequency range) or VHF (which stands for very high frequency range) when purchasing a television or TV antenna. UHF is thought of as beach front property in the spectrum world because its frequencies can easily penetrate windows in buildings and bend around geographic obstacles like mountains using a smaller receiving antenna than lower frequencies. Because of this, UHF spectrum is in high demand. You can see how spectrum bands are allocated, what they are used for, who holds licenses and in what areas by visiting the FCC s Spectrum Dashboard at Who has spectrum? A wide variety of entities hold spectrum licenses, including: Federal government State governments Television stations Radio stations Wireless providers There are also specific companies that hold licenses, including: AT&T Clearwire Echostar Kingstreet Wireless, L.P. Leap What is spectrum used for? SpectrumCoAWS Sprint/Nextel T-Mobile US Cellular Verizon As mentioned previously, spectrum plays a role in many of our daily activities, from calling your friend on your mobile phone to listening to the radio in your car to surfing the Web. 12

13 Spectrum 101: A Basic Understanding of the Invisible, Untouchable Waves That Make Things Work! Spectrum is officially allocated by the government for a wide variety of purposes, including: Amateur radio operation Aviation service Broadband Broadcast television and radio Cellular services Fixed microwave services Low-power services Maritime services Medical devices Paging services Public safety communications Radiolocation Space operations Wireless broadband Is there really a spectrum crisis? There s no question that spectrum is a greatly utilized resource. More consumers than ever before are using smartphones and tablets, like the ipad, and those devices use significantly more spectrum than simple mobile phones due to their data streaming capabilities. The government estimates that today s smartphones use 24 times the spectrum as older phones. And tablets? They can use 120 times more spectrum! With the increased demand for these devices, companies like AT&T and Verizon are clamoring to obtain more spectrum. But whether or not there is truly a crunch or crisis on the horizon is a hotly debated topic in Washington, D.C. In fact, it s been widely publicized that many of the wireless providers who are voicing concerns about a spectrum crunch are also in possession of a great deal of spectrum that simply has not been fully utilized. Many believe that a thorough spectrum inventory should be conducted as soon as possible to determine whether the spectrum that has been allocated is being used efficiently and has actually been deployed. Armed with this information, the federal government could then proceed in determining the best way to ensure spectrum is efficiently and effectively utilized by license holders. What is all the spectrum talk about in Washington, D.C.? It boils down to this: spectrum is a finite and valuable resource so it must be used efficiently. With more devices hitting the market that use even more spectrum, there is growing concern among some that eventually supply may not be able to keep up with demand. To complicate matters, the highly-coveted UHF beachfront property spectrum that wireless providers want is already allocated and TV stations are using it to deliver new, free services to viewers. So the government finds itself in a precarious position of trying to balance the desires of companies and needs of consumers with its responsibility to appropriately manage the spectrum resource. 13

14 Spectrum 101: A Basic Understanding of the Invisible, Untouchable Waves That Make Things Work! In 2010, the Federal Communications Commission unveiled a plan to increase the amount of spectrum available for wireless services. The plan specifically targets the beachfront property spectrum that your local television stations have and that wireless companies want. How? One part of the FCC plan that is getting a lot of attention proposes spectrum auctions that would allow TV broadcasters to give up their channels and be compensated by sharing in some of the auction proceeds. For those stations that do not participate in the auctions, they may be forced to move to new channels or even share channels with other stations. This causes great concern because it could result in viewers losing some of their current channels and other services like local TV news, multicast side channels and free, local TV on your smartphone. The FCC plan also seeks to identify underused government airwaves that can be repurposed for commercial uses and smart-antenna technology that reduces the burden on cell networks. Other technical remedies could include making wireless networks more efficient by compression technology, constructing additional cell towers or allowing carriers to share frequencies. Currently, Congress is considering legislation that would provide the FCC with the ability to move forward with spectrum auctions, along with ensuring the public safety community has the spectrum it needs to fulfill the recommendations of the September 11 Commission. How would this affect me? As the government makes decisions about reallocating spectrum, America s broadcasters want to ensure that you do not lose access to your favorite TV channels and free services. Whether you are one of the 46 million Americans that get all of your television for free with an antenna, or you subscribe to a monthly cable or satellite service, nearly everyone relies on broadcast television for entertainment, local and national news and emergency information. It is our goal that you do not lose any of the channels you currently enjoy, and that you also do not lose access to all those free side channels that broadcasters are now offering like healthy living, hyper-local and foreign language channels. Your local TV stations have been investing in the future by using their spectrum to innovate and provide viewers with better services whether it s free, local TV on your smartphone or, someday, free 3D television shows in your home. As the federal government considers what do to with the airwaves, America s broadcasters will continue to advocate for viewers like you while we keep innovating to bring you the great content, news and community services on which you depend. Visit to learn more about this issue and how television stations are innovating to serve you better. 14

15 Advocacy Tips and Suggestions Work to build and maintain ongoing relationships with your members of Congress. Invite your legislators to visit your station. Provide them with a tour and explain the many ways your station serves the local community their constituents. When a member of Congress visits your station, make sure to: Arrange a meeting with your department heads. Stress the business operations of the station and your specific business problems and needs. Link your business to the health of the local economy, the jobs you create and the services your station provides to the community. Utilize your unique role as the conduit between members of Congress and their constituents. Also, establish a policy of advance notice to the general manager whenever a member of Congress plans to visit your station for another purpose, such as a news interview. You should not pass up this golden opportunity to talk to your legislators while they are visiting your station. Ensure your communications with members of Congress are coordinated and effective. Coordinate efforts with other local television and radio stations if appropriate, your state broadcaster association and NAB. Obtain materials and information you may need in advance by contacting NAB s Government Relations department at (800) or For the most effective communications, localize your message. Remember the saying, All politics is local? Some members of Congress are less familiar with broadcast issues, yet they are all asked to vote on legislation that affects television and radio stations. That is why it is important to localize an issue. When talking about broadcasting in general or a particular issue or bill, explain how it affects your station and your employees. Give specific examples that the member can relate to by making sure to include answers to these questions: How many people do you employ? How does your news programming affect the community? Will new regulations put you at a competitive disadvantage with other competitors? Will new regulations affect your ability to offer programs or services for viewers? What new costs will you face and how will that impact your ability to serve the community? If members of Congress can see these issues through the eyes of a broadcaster as a local businessman, they are more likely to understand your point of view. 15

16 Advocacy Tips and Suggestions Be knowledgeable and prepared on your issues. Come to the meeting armed with information supporting your views. Members of Congress value information and examples that demonstrate the practical impact of a particular issue or piece of legislation and the effect it may have on their constituents. Know the counterpoints to your arguments so you can effectively rebut them. It is often helpful to provide the member of Congress with a written leave behind document that they can pass along to their staff. An effective document: Summarizes the issue; Explains why the issue is important to your station and the local community; Addresses the specific action you want the member to take; and Provides your name and contact information in case staff wants to contact you as a resource on this issue in the future. Materials on policy issues that can serve as leave behinds for your legislators can be obtained by contacting the NAB Government Relations department at (800) or Be responsive to questions from the member of Congress or their staff. Try to answer any questions the legislator may have. If you do not know the answer to a question, don t be afraid to say, I don t know, I ll get back to you. Follow up the meeting with a thank you letter that reviews the different points covered during the meeting, and send any information or material the member requested. If you need assistance in answering policymakers questions on a specific issue, do not hesitate to contact the NAB Government Relations department at (800) or Don t forget to make the ask. If you have a specific request of the member of Congress, be sure it is communicated clearly. Ask for a commitment from them to support your issue, and follow up in writing to hold them accountable. Be sure to follow up with the member of Congress, your state association and NAB. Effective advocacy is a continuing process, not just one meeting or correspondence. Be sure to maintain regular contact with your members of Congress and their staff. Keep them apprised of the many things you re doing in your community to serve their constituents. And keep your state broadcaster association and NAB aware of your activities, including responses from members. They can offer you information and assistance, share your information with other broadcasters and coordinate all efforts to create the most effective advocacy. 16

17 Advocacy Tips and Suggestions Utilize social media to reach your legislators. In addition to keeping in touch with letters, s and phone calls, social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook provide another opportunity to dialogue with your members of Congress. If you already utilize these tools, be sure to friend and follow your legislators. This will allow you to keep updated on their local activities and policy actions. You can also engage them with these ideas: If a member of Congress visits your station, be sure to take photos. You can post the pictures online and tag the member of Congress with a positive message, such as, Really enjoyed visiting with Rep. Smith today at WNAB. Post or comment on a legislator s Facebook wall in a positive way that relates to your issue, such as, Rep. Smith values free, local television for all viewers thank you for supporting the (name of the legislation) bill! If you covered an event that included the member of Congress, post the video clip and tag the legislator to let them know you are providing an outlet for their messages. Establishing an ongoing dialogue with your legislators is important as we aim to keep broadcaster issues and the valuable services we provide to the community top of mind. 17

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