Two House Energy and Commerce Committee members are pushing for legislation aimed at protecting local radio broadcasting and more strictly enforcing the licenses of satellite radio companies.

NEW YORK--Two House Energy and Commerce Committee members are pushing for legislation aimed at protecting local radio broadcasting and more strictly enforcing the licenses of satellite radio companies.

Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., and Gene Green, D-Texas, say the "Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act" stresses that Digital Audio Satellite Radio licensees can't circumvent their obligation to provide national audio programming by inserting local content into their network of ground-based repeaters.

"The Federal Communications Commission licensed satellite radio to be a national-only radio service," said Green. "This bill will enforce the Commission's original intent."

In the past, several members of Congress have asked the FCC to look into satellite radio's plans for its terrestrial repeater network. In December, XM Satellite Radio signed an agreement affirming that it would not use its ground-based repeaters for local programming.

A few weeks after signing that agreement, however, XM announced plans to distribute local content via its national channels. The Pickering-Green bill would require the FCC to examine whether this practice is consistent with its intent.

NAB president Edward Fritts is onboard with the proposed legislation. "NAB strongly supports the satellite radio legislation introduced by Reps. Pickering and Green.

"Localism is the hallmark of our free, over-the-air, radio system, and this bill will ensure that satellite companies be held to the standard upon which their licenses were granted," Fritts says.