STELA Reform Coalition efforts
6 July 2021: I reached out to the President and CEO of the Arizona Broadcasters Association on how best to utilize local TV stations in forming the STELA Reform Coalition that I discussed on the previous month's update.
12 July 2021: I sent the following email to the managers of the Tucson TV stations:
This is a follow-up to my email of 21 June 2021 regarding forming a STELA Reform Coalition. I realize that as local broadcasters you may not be able to officially join this Coalition. However, I am sure you understand the goal of accomplishing this much-needed legislative reform.
I have frequently used the National Association of Broadcasters "We are Broadcasters" to tell Congress why the local Tucson TV stations are so valuable to residents of southern Pinal County and businesses in Pima and Pinal counties. Unfortunately, as indicated by their responses, members of Congress still do not appreciate the seriousness of the flaw in STELA and the FCC DMA for Tucson that puts local lives at risk and harms local businesses. Hence the need for a more powerful voice than the Pinal County Board of Supervisors and myself.
As I stated in my 21 June email, businesses that advertise on the Tucson TV stations are being harmed by not being able to reach potential customers in southern Pinal County, just 30 miles from Tucson. Likewise, consumers in southern Pinal County are being denied a valuable resource to find businesses and services in nearby Tucson. Consequently, adding your local advertisers to the STELA Reform Coalition will strengthen its voice.
I will contact these local advertisers and invite them to join the STELA Reform Coalition, but I need your assistance. Yes, I could determine what businesses and organizations advertise on your stations IF I COULD RECEIVE YOUR STATIONS. However, thanks to the flawed STELA legislation and DMA regulation, I cannot view your stations from Oracle using DirecTV. It will greatly accelerate this effort if you would provide me with a list of your advertisers. At a minimum, I am only requesting the company/organization names, although also having a contact person, phone number, and email address for each advertiser will simplify the work to support our local TV stations.
I know that what I am asking will be additional work for your business offices and I thank you in advance for your support. I would appreciate knowing by the end of this week if this information is something you can provide.
STELA Reform Advocate
23 July 2021: sent the following via the National Association of Broadcasters "We Are Broadcasters" site for submission to Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema and Congressman Tom O'Halleran:
Since 2013, I have been trying to get Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to recognize the need to fix the dangerous and unfair flaws in the "Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act" (STELA) legislation and the Tucson and Phoenix FCC "Designated Market Areas" (DMA). However, members of Congress, their staffs, and the staff at the FCC have continued to ignore facts and logic in this issue. Those who do not live with the issue are immune to its negative impacts. As members of Congress, you live in and around Washington, DC. Would you tolerate being allowed to view only TV stations in Philadelphia (120 miles away)? Yet, that is exactly what some of your constituents in southern Pinal County are asked to tolerate: being forced by their Government to view TV stations 120 miles away (Phoenix) instead of local TV stations 30 miles away (Tucson).
STELA and the illogical DMAs prohibit your constituents who are satellite TV customers from viewing the nearest (Tucson) TV stations with their local news, weather, sports, business advertising, and local emergency information (i.e., severe weather, wildfires, other). As the STELA legislation treats customers of cable TV companies differently than customers of satellite TV companies living in the same area, this part of the STELA legislation could be considered unconstitutional and it violates the rights of affected citizens.
Some members of Congress assume that the Internet is a viable solution for their constituents, but it is NOT a solution for citizens who have unreliable Internet (typical in rural Pinal County), or do not have or DO NOT WANT to use the Internet for security reasons. Additionally, there are extra costs to your constituents associated with using the Internet. Also, not all local advertising shown on the Tucson TV stations is available via the Internet. Frequently, out-of-state advertising is shown on local TV stations livestreams via the Internet. Not being able to view commercials for local businesses during livestreams hurts businesses in both Pinal and Pima counties as well as consumers in southern Pinal County. It just makes more sense to just correct the problem at the source, which is the STELA legislation.
It is critical that southern Pinal County satellite TV customers be allowed to immediately begin receiving all the Tucson TV stations, which are relevant to your constituents here, instead of the more distant and irrelevant Phoenix TV stations. The next crisis is weeks, days, or even hours away.
By failing to act immediately to correct STELA and the DMAs, YOU are putting the lives of your constituents at risk and YOU are harming local businesses that advertise on the local Tucson TV stations. Sorry to be so blunt, but Congress needs to accept its responsibility. Congress created the STELA legislation and Congress must take URGENT action to fix STELA.
26 July 2021: As the managers of the Tucson TV stations failed to respond to my "STELA Reform Coalition" emails of 21 June 2021 and 12 July 2021, I sent the following to them to express my disapppointment with their lack of support for their advertisers and the citizens of southern Pinal County.
This is a follow-up to my emails of 21 June 2021 and 12 July 2021 regarding forming a STELA Reform Coalition. While I understand the reluctance to directly support this important local effort, I am disappointed that as local TV station managers you have chosen, for reasons you believe to be valid and necessary, to not support your advertisers and the citizens of southern Pinal County. However, as you probably expect, I will continue to fight for local citizens and your advertisers in this critical battle with Congress.
Even though I can not receive your stations (thanks to Congress), I will do what I can to determine the companies and organizations that advertise on your stations and invite them to join the STELA Reform Coalition.
I will also continue to use the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) "We are Broadcasters" to tell Congress why your local Tucson TV stations are critical to all residents of southern Pinal County and businesses in Pima and Pinal counties. Hopefully, as the NAB says, this will help preserve your quality local journalism and counter the major threats from big tech giants to the advertising revenue that you depend on.
Should you have suggestions on approaches the STELA Reform Coalition should pursue, I will welcome your inputs.
STELA Reform Advocate
Apparently, the Tucson TV stations feel that this isn't their fight although their stations and their advertisers are being hurt. As I noted in my email to them, I will continue to fight for the citizens of southern Pinal County and the businesses in Pima and Pinal counties that advertise on the Tucson TV stations.
28 July 2021: Using the Internet, I watched livestreams of local newscasts provided by three of the major Tucson TV stations. Unfortunately, for financial and perhaps regulatory reasons there was NO local business advertising on any of the livestreams. In fact, most of the advertising was from out-of-state online-only companies. As I have frequently noted in my communications with our elected officials, using the Internet to view livestreams harms local businesses.
Congress is succeeding in denying certain rights to Arizona citizens through the unfair and dangerous STELA legislation that they refuse to correct.
Pursuing Unconstitutionality of STELA Legislation
Main Flawed STELA Legislation page