With finalization of the congressional supercommittee’s deficit reduction proposal just weeks away, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) announced the establishment of a new coalition that aims to protect the rights of broadcasters that chose not to participate in incentive auctions of TV spectrum while promoting the development of new broadcast services and business models in the wake of the 2009 digital television (DTV) transition. As part of its legislative plan for slashing the federal deficit by at least $1.5 trillion, the supercommittee is expected to adopt provisions that authorize the FCC to conduct incentive auctions of broadcast TV and other spectrum that would be reallocated for wireless broadband use. Launched on Tuesday, the NAB-backed Future of TV Coalition (FOTC) consists of 21 broadcast networks and media advocacy groups that include MHz Networks, the Open Mobile Video Coalition, Bounce TV, the Center for Asian American Media, Qubo and Antenna Direct. Asserting that “broadcasters are just now unveiling the new innovative services made possible by the DTV transition, which has enabled the promotion of more community voices on local television,” NAB CEO Gordon Smith told reporters that FOTC members “understand the importance and benefit of preserving the expansion of consumer choice on television.” Acknowledging, “there is a lot of momentum” behind the concept of incentive auctions, Smith said the FOTC aims to ensure that the incentive auction process is truly voluntary and that broadcasters who decline to participate are not forced to share their channels or have their service contours reduced. While affirming that broadcasters are “all for the [public safety] first responders” who would receive incentive auction proceeds, Smith also stressed that FOTC members are “first informers” who continue to play a vital role in the dissemination of news and other key information to the public. As he advised wireless carriers to “use up what [spectrum] you’ve got . . . before you take our spectrum,” Smith warned members of Congress that, if incentive auction legislation “is done in a rush, the things that will be sacrificed are multicasting and mobile DTV.”