NAB opposes FCC tape archiving issue

September 6, 2004

As part of its indecency crusade, the FCC has proposed new rules requiring broadcasters to record and retain all programming on an around the clock basis. Comments were due by the end of last week and the NAB did all it could to make sure the FCC got an earful.

Noting "it is critical that each and every broadcaster’s voice be heard on this issue," the NAB provided a link on its web site to make it easy for stations to sound off on the issue. Apparently many responded —mostly negatively.

The NAB argued that mandatory recording raises serious issues, including the cost of recording and storing thousands of hours of broadcast programming; the burden on stations to staff employees to comply with recording requirements; and the burden of requiring programming recording on each and every multicast channel stream.

Calling the regulation "overly broad," the NAB said that it would place the burden of supplying evidence of potential violations on the station and not the complainant.

Since 2002, the percentage of broadcasters who have been determined by the FCC to have violated the indecency statute is extremely small (less than .058 percent), the NAB said.

The FCC believes that the taping rules will better enable it to enforce restrictions on obscene, indecent and profane broadcasting, as well as compliance with children’s programming and other rules.

Reply comments are due Sept. 27.

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