ABC Quits America’s NAB Lobby Group

19 June 2003

Walt Disney Company’s ABC has withdrawn its TV and radio networks from industry body the National Association of Broadcasters.

ABC is the last of the big four TV broadcast networks to abandon the NAB, whose membership and finances are dominated by network affiliate stations.

As when CBS left the body two years ago [WAMN: 05-Apr-01], the Disney unit’s departure was prompted by the NAB’s policy towards media ownership law. The Association opposes moves by the Federal Communications Commission to relax restrictions on the size of networks (allowing them, among other things, to buy more affiliates).

In a letter to the NAB, ABC blasted this stance as “patently hypocritical”, given that the lobby group supports easing federal laws on local ownership of broadcast and print outlets.

The letter criticised the “cynical incantation of phrases like localism to obscure the true anti-competitive motives of the large affiliate groups.”

The NAB played down the departure, arguing that it remains an effective lobbying force as it represents around 7,400 TV and radio stations around the country.

Data sourced from: MediaWeek (US); additional content by WARC staff