Stations Ask FCC to Reconsider Must-Carry

Apr 22, 2005  •  Post A Comment

The Big 3 TV affiliates association, ABC-owned TV stations and NBC/Telemundo-owned TV stations have asked the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider a decision rejecting a broadcast-industry proposal to require cable operators to carry all of the programming streams on broadcasters’ digital channels.

In a controversial decision in February, the FCC voted 4-1 to reject the broadcast industry request. But since that time Kevin Martin, the sole dissenter in the vote, has been promoted to the agency’s chairmanship.

In a filing at the FCC Thursday, the affiliates said the FCC decision erred because the agency failed, among other things, to recognize that cable’s carriage capacity had doubled or even tripled since 1992, “and that full digital carriage would require half the capacity of analog carriage.” Also challenging the ruling are the National Association of Broadcasters and the Association of Maximum Service Television.

The law “requires carriage of the full digital signals of local commercial stations,” NAB and MSTV said in a joint filing at the FCC. In a wrap-up press briefing at the NAB’s convention in Las Vegas earlier this week, Eddie Fritts, NAB president and CEO, said the multicasting issue is likely to be included in legislation this year on the broadcasting industry’s conversion to digital.