Coalition of Black, Hispanic broadcasters air strong opposition to Senate Video Bill

Gus West, President, THI

The members of Four coalition have sent individual letters to congressional leadership  opposing the passage of proposed video reform legislation known as the Satellite Television Access and Viewer Rights Act (STAVRA).
The National Black Religious Broadcasters (NBRB), The Hispanic Institute (THI) and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), highlighted their respective concerns with the “Local Choice” components of the legislation, which would transition all local broadcast TV channels to an a la carte menu on cable and satellite TV systems for subscribers to choose from.
The following are excerpts from the each of the Coalition member letters to Congress urging them to vote against the “Local Choice” components of STAVRA.
James L. Winston, Executive Director (pictured), NABOB, wrote: “Without widely-available programming geared toward minority communities, it would be even more difficult for Americans to tune in and educate themselves with ideas or cultures they may not encounter on a daily basis. In order for diverse programming to thrive in America, bills like ‘Local Choice’ must not become law.”
Reverend Sheldon Williams, President, NBRB, wrote: “Faith-based broadcasters — especially broadcasters of color — depend greatly on the basic tier to reach key audiences, regardless of socioeconomic status. At its very heart, the pending Local Choice proposal strips local television from the basic tier of programming that is vital, needed and wanted by television viewers all across the country. And it does so at a higher cost to consumers — many of them the consumers we serve.”
Gus West, President, THI, wrote: “Studies have shown that under an a la carte model, minority ownership and diversity programming do not survive and monthly cable bills rise rapidly, costing consumers. This is a concern for our organization and the Latino community we represent. For years we have fought for inclusion only to find legislative proposals that threaten to undermine this progress.”
The National Black Religious Broadcasters (NBRB) is a national coalition of over 10,000 black religious broadcasters throughout the country who utilize broadcast and cable television, the internet and radio to host their ministries and spread the gospel according to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


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