“To say there is a wide divergence of opinion among broadcasters on whether there should be further deregulation is an understatement.” That’s what one respected executive told Radio Ink last week, despite others saying there is widespread support for loosening the ownership caps. And, following our story on the NAB’s response to some of the comments filed with the FCC, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman wanted his opinion known as well.
The NAB has been put in an interesting position. The organization is charged with representing its members. And, on most issues, after hashing things out behind closed doors, industry executives come out fighting on the same side. The board, made up of a lot of Radio’s CEO’s or high ranking radio executives, vote on things and the NAB moves forward promoting that position. And while the NAB has been saying that support for loosening ownership caps has been overwhelming, many other executives dispute that.
The NAB filed additional comments last week aimed at those opposed to more deregulation. In addition to iHeart, Radio One, Salem and The Association of Black owned Broadcasters, there were groups such as musicFIRST, which provided a form letter to members and asked them to bombard the FCC in opposition. The NAB, aiming those comments at the activist groups, said they were “backward.” However, the iHeart CEO didn’t appreciate the filing much. Pittman sent this note to NAB CEO Gordon Smith and NAB Executive Committee Board Member Caroline Beasley: “I was surprised and disappointed to read the NAB characterization of those of us who oppose radio deregulation. Both unnecessary and not the tone I would expect from the NAB —especially against some of its own members. I thought we still had respect for those who have differing opinions.”
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