NAB president, CEO Gordon Smith delivered a fiery challenge to the FCC to support broadcasters' efforts to compete, or at least get out of their way.
No other medium, including broadband, better serves the public in time of crisis, said Smith.
"We are here to be the public's eyes and ears, to lead them out of darkness during times of crisis, to share profound moments, and to connect to our family, friends and neighbors," Smith told a substantial opening session crowd. "We are here to be the voices against oppression and we are here to be megaphones for freedom and democracy."
Local broadcast, he added, contributes nearly $1.3 trillion to the gross domestic product.
Smith expressed bewilderment that the FCC chooses, in his view, to interfere with broadcasters, including the commission's recent ruling that cracks down on joint sales agreements, while giving preference to cable and wireless.
Smith proposed a "National Broadcast Plan" — a response to the government's National Broadband Plan — that would include, among other things, a review of regulations that he said holds back innovation and competition.
"Why is there no focus to foster innovation and investment in broadcasting to ensure our business continues to be a world leader alongside our broadband industries?" he said.
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