Chairman’s Message

John Leonard; SEK Media, Coffeyville-Independence; [email protected]

Greetings! As you read this month’s newsletter the board’s Executive Committee, Allison and myself are in Washington, D.C., at the NAB’s State Leadership Conference. In addition to meeting with other broadcasters from around the nation, we are meeting with our state’s representatives in Congress and Senators to lobby on issues important all of us.

Specifically, we will be trying to garner additional support for the Local Radio Freedom Act which opposes any new tax, fee or royalty on local radio stations. The music industry is working legislators to impose new fees on the backs of broadcasters who already supply the industry with $2.4 billion annually in free promotion through music airplay.

We will also be asking our legislators to support the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. This bill will ensure a future for local journalism by addressing the overwhelming market power of the big tech companies who are already taking the lion’s share of ad revenues, by allowing broadcasters to negotiate with them for the use of content that we create.

In addition, we will be also asking for support of a tax credit for broadcasters who hire and retain local journalists through the Journalism Sustainability Act. This is an issue not only important to broadcasters but the communities we serve. Broadcasters are the main source of news for our local communities and in many rural areas the only source. Local news operations take up a major portion of our budgets and without help it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sustain in today’s economic environment.

Finally, although it’s not a national issue, broadcasters across Kansas have seen an increasing number of high schools enter into agreements with third-party providers for on-line sports broadcasts. It is important that we reach out to our schools and cement our relationships to prevent this infringement on our ability to provide local sports broadcasts as we have for years to the communities we serve.

Stay warm and let’s look forward to a strong 2022.
John Leonard,
2022 KAB Board Chairman