Networks, Affiliates Urge FCC to Ratify Petition Settling Dispute

Jun 9, 2008  •  Post A Comment

A contingent representing the broadcast networks and their affiliate bodies requested Monday that the Federal Communications Commission ratify a joint petition confirming a set of guiding principles of their relationship. Such ratification would resolve the issues addressed in a 2001 petition alleging illegal and abusive practices by the networks.
News of the long, quiet effort to close one of the most volatile chapters in the network-affiliate relationship first was reported by TelevisionWeek in its June 9 edition.
“The agreement among the affiliate associations and their respective networks resulting in the new joint request is the product of very constructive discussions among the parties,” said a statement released jointly by ABC, CBS, Fox and their affiliate associations, and the Network Affiliated Stations Alliance. “It also reflects a mutual recognition that we, as affiliates and networks, must renew our efforts to work together to address common issues, whether internal matters or the external challenges we face in an ever more competitive media landscape.”
It was a NASA petition in March 2001 that started a war of words and retaliatory actions that for a time forced the networks and stations further apart. The FCC has never ruled on that petition, so principals who have been negotiating the joint resolution do not expect any obstacles to putting the original filing to rest.
The main issues addressed in the joint resolution filed Monday:
— That local stations, as the licensees, retain control over programming, operations and other decisions about their stations.
— That stations have the right to reject network programming for reasons of local standards or interests, but that this should not be regarded as an “unfettered right.”
— That networks are not allowed to option stations’ time for programming (beyond the standard programming blocks) or stations’ digital spectrum for network content.
“NASA and the networks look forward to resolving this proceeding and moving with a continued productive relationship based on the principles outlined above,” concluded the filing, which was signed by the chairmen of the affiliate bodies and NASA and network executives who oversee affiliate relations.

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  1. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

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