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Todd Schurz Defends Broadcasting Before House Subcommittee

A transcript of the oral testimony of Todd Schurz, owner of 10 TV stations, before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology made the case for TV broadcasting in a hearing titled "Promoting Broadband, Jobs and Economic Growth Through Commercial Spectrum Auctions."

The CEO of Schurz Communications pointed out the one-to-many nature of broadcasting, and after noting that TV broadcasters had returned 108 MHz of spectrum (nearly 30 percent) in the DTV transition, said "We are committed to being part of the broadband solution, but there is only so much that the laws of physics will allow us to do without crippling our ability to serve our local communities now and in the future," said Schurz. "Broadcasters have never objected to truly voluntary incentive auctions, but we do feel strongly that protections need to be built into spectrum legislation to ensure the future competitiveness and viability of local television broadcasting."

The protections he listed include:

  1. No broadcaster should be forced to relocate to an inferior spectrum band.
  2. Any repacking by the FCC should protect viewers by maintaining the current reach of a broadcaster's signal.
  3. No station should be subject to increased interference.
  4. Broadcasters should be held harmless from the cost of repacking.

"We appreciate the Committee's thoughtful and deliberate approach to the spectrum issue. Remember, once we re-allocate this spectrum, once broadcasters who want to continue to provide service are repacked in a harmful way, there is no going back," said Schurz. "We get only one shot at this. We need to do it right to ensure that viewers do not lose access to the news, entertainment, and vital emergency programming that broadcasters provide.

He added that he was excited about the future of broadcasting and proud of its past.

"Our company has no plans to return our spectrum," he said. "For that reason, I ask that any spectrum legislation be crafted to protect our ability to continue to serve the viewers of our local communities."

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.