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NAB “getting beat up” over their opposition to LPFM

Grassroots heat has been getting hotter this week as the Senate runs out of time to vote on the Local Community Radio Act, expanding low-power FM. There are some signs that the action is having some effect.

Free Press campaign director Tim Karr tweeted on Thursday,

NAB lobbyists overheard at DC event: “We’re getting beat up on Twitter about LPFM”

Indeed, the twitter petition site itself tweeted later in the day,

Today’s #1 petition @nabtweets to stop lobbying Congress to block new, independent radio stations

And DC insider newspaper Politico ran a story on how all the NAB lobbying pressure “is pinching the nerves of some lawmakers on Capitol Hill.” So much so, in fact, that congressional staffers are saying their bosses are getting tired of negotiating with the NAB because the lobby is not showing any willingness to compromise on issues like LPFM.

Even the Oregonian, the home paper of NAB president and former-senator Gordon Smith, took notice with a piece on Wednesday that observed,

Gordon Smith is no longer one of Oregon’s U.S. senators, but community radio activists are trying to paint him as still pulling secretive strings in Congress.

It’s unclear how much the NAB cares about the increasingly negative press. However, I’m certain the lobby does care quite a bit how members of Congress are perceiving its efforts, with many starting to wonder if it isn’t squandering its clout and resources on an issue that is more symbolic than any kind of real threat to commercial broadcasters.

The question is whether or not the NAB is willing to risk some standing in order to score a win on LPFM. Or it may be that the broadcast lobby is betting a Republican House and more Republican Senate won’t care or remember come January 1. Given the bipartisan support for LPFM, that may not be the surest bet. But that hasn’t seemed to stop the NAB in the previous nine years, either.

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