The FCC is considering deregulations to allow radio broadcasters to geotarget ads using new technology—meaning that one station can run different ads depending on the location of the listener. The rule has won praise from former President Trump’s top tech expert, who said it would level the advertising playing field for an industry dominated by conservatives.
Adam Candeub, a law professor at Michigan State who led the fight against Big Tech censorship in the Trump Administration, agreed in an op-ed that the rule is not particularly ideological, but would benefit conservatives.
Because broadcast radio is one of the few mediums dominated by conservatives, deregulation will incidentally help conservative talk radio by leveling “the playing field to help the distressed radio broadcasting industry compete in advertising against other mediums by creating a fairer regulatory environment.” Candeub also notes that unlike Silicon Valley or ISP targeted ads, this is based solely on location and does not involve any collection of private data.
The current proposed rule change was initiated by Trump’s FCC Chairman Ajit Pai who was one of the first top officials in the Trump Administration to speak out against Silicon Valley censorship.
The rule, however, is opposed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and their largest member, iHeart Radio. Candeub noted that many of the incumbents, “oppose the reforms because they can already geotarget their satellite and digital streaming businesses.” Enabling small- and medium-market radio stations to fend for themselves would make advertisers less reliant on larger companies like iHeart, who are lobbying for the advantage.
The National Association for Broadcasters is the last group that conservatives should listen to when dealing with free speech and Big Tech. While many conservative broadcasters are members, it frequently advocates for pro-censorship positions. The NAB supports the nomination of Gigi Sohn, the far-left radical that President Biden picked to give Democrats a majority on the FCC. As Breitbart has reported,
Gigi Sohn wants to use the FCC against conservative media, accusing Fox News of “destroying democracy & electing autocrats.” She even suggested using the FCC’s power to retaliate against broadcasters like Sinclair for airing views she disagrees with. Just last week, Gigi Sohn spoke at an event hosted by Movement Labs, a far-left activist group.
The organization bragged that, if confirmed, Sohn would use the FCC to attack conservative media outlets like Fox and Sinclair broadcasting, despite the fact that the stations are NAB members. Sohn has frequently criticized any attempt to regulate Big Tech for free speech, while calling Fox News a bigger threat.
The NAB has criticized Big Tech, but only for the not censoring enough. It wants broadcasters to have a monopoly on discussion, writing that as “misinformation and disinformation runs rampant online, there are broadcast journalists in every corner of our nation.”
While publicly citing the alleged problem of online misinformation and disinformation, the NAB is actively lobbying for the Journalism Competition and Protection Act (JCPA). As Breitbart has extensively detailed, the JCPA will allow Big Media cartels to collude to demand that Big Tech prioritize their content at the detriment of independent content creators and conservative media not allowed into their cartel.
Despite this fact, a few conservative talk shows have echoed the NAB’s arguments and seem to think deregulation will help Silicon Valley and harm conservative talk radio.
Prof. Candeub tells Breitbart “I understand why conservative talk show hosts are worried about the decline of broadcasting as Big Tech gobbles up the industry, but they have this issue backwards. Allowing broadcasters to more efficiently advertise will help them compete against Big Tech.”
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election. Follow him on Twitter @LibertarianBlue.
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