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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BOOKER. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Let Our Communities Access Local TV Act, or the LOCAL TV Act.

I am pleased that I've had the opportunity to collaborate with my friend and colleague, Senator FISCHER, and I know we both look forward to working with our fellow colleagues on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to see that this legislation is enacted.

The LOCAL TV Act directs the Federal Communications Commission to study the impact of media market areas and to assess their impact on the ability of individuals to receive relevant, local news and information.

The current structure of media markets is one in which market areas can sprawl across State lines, creating situations in which you can live in one State, but be exclusively saddled in the media market of another.

My state of New Jersey is particularly affected by this situation because it is one of only two States in the entire Nation that is served exclusively by out-of-state media markets. We are served by New York and Pennsylvania--both great places but not New Jersey.

Why does this matter? When someone in Patterson, Freehold, or Cape May, New Jersey turns on their local broadcast station--they are lucky when they find stories about their community's latest news, schools, and our local governments. This kind of New Jersey news, unfortunately, takes a back seat to that of neighboring Philadelphia and New York.

These pre-determined media markets often stifle our ability to hear about what's happening back home. We hear more about Philadelphia and New York City than we do about Morristown, Montclair, Camden and Jersey City.

To be sure, broadcast TV plays an important role in communities. It is particularly essential during emergencies and extreme weather events--for instance during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Even while technology continues to grow and change the way we receive information, still 74 percent of adults get their news from their local broadcast stations, or from their broadcasters' websites.

Because of the existing digital divide, the number of people who rely on broadcast television is even higher when we look at low income communities. We owe them quality coverage of the local news and information they care about.

It is my hope that with further study and recommendations from the Federal Communications Commission we can continue the dialogue on how stations can best serve local communities, especially those who find themselves in media markets that cross state lines. I urge my colleagues to support the LOCAL TV ACT so that we can obtain more data and information on these markets.

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