I personally think their rationale is a joke, it seems like most radio shows are now nationally syndicated shows anyway, local content is disappearing. The stations being a carrier of last resort isn't very convincing, in Mississippi, most radio outlets were shut down when Katrina hit. When most countries go to war, the first thing they go after is the radio & TV stations, satellite radio at least gives other options if the land based radio is shut down.
I've written the following letter to my representative as well as Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce where the bill is currently sitting. Feel free to copy and paste the letter or any parts of it, and use it to send to your representative. A few people in some other forums thought bringing politics into it is wrong, but I think that's the only thing these guys understand.
I am writing regarding H.R. 983, The Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act of 2007, as introduced by Rep. Chip Pickering of Mississippi, and Rep. Gene Green of Texas. I strongly oppose this legislation.
This bill would prevent satellite radio from transmitting these local services - including public safety/emergency information.
A great example of the benefits of satellite radio in an emergency situation was during the Hurricane Katrina aftermath when XM and the Red Cross both setup Red Cross Radio. This allowed relief workers, shelters and aid stations to receive vital information during a time when local terrestrial radio was knocked out of service. I would think that Rep. Pickering would praise this service rather than oppose this service, seeing that he serves constituents from Mississippi that were directly affected by this major emergency and could not receive emergency information from local radio.
In my opinion, this bill represents the influence of big business, rather than a service to the public. Rep. Pickering, since 1989 has received $ 48,500 from the National Association of Broadcasters, and $ 46,498 from the National Cable & Telecommunication Association, in addition to being sent on a trip to Vail, CO in August of 2005, paid by the Telecommunications Industry Association. Rep. Green, the bill’s primary co-sponsor, since 1989 has received $95,500 from the Communications Workers of America, and was sent on trips to Las Vegas in April of 2005 and April of 2003 paid by the National Association of Broadcasters.
I believe that the American people spoke with a loud voice in the last election, and would be mortified that this legislation really has nothing to do with public service, but is payback for receiving campaign contributions from big business contributors.
This particular bill was introduced three times in the past, with all three efforts ending in failure. It is time the issue should be dropped, and Congress should worry about bigger and much more important issues such as healthcare, education, and the war on terror.
I appreciate your time and your vote against H.R. 983.