The chairs of the ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC Affiliate Boards say the current draft of the Satellite Television Access and Viewer Rights Act still includes provisions that are unfair to broadcasters and undermine viewers’ free access to local TV programming.
The chairs of the ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC Affiliate Boards in a letter sent Thursday to Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D.-W.Va.) and John Thune (R.-S.D.) expressed their concerns with the Satellite Television Access and Viewer Rights Act.
A day after the Rockefeller and Thune announced that the Senate Commerce Committee had removed the contentious “Local Choice” proposal from STAVRA, the broadcasters said the current draft “still includes several highly controversial provisions that would undermine free access by your constituents and the nation’s television viewers to high quality national network and local broadcast television programming.”
The broadcasters say the bill imposes negotiation limitations on broadcasters but not cable operators. “Most troubling is the provision that grants the FCC new authority over several aspects of the broadcast business which no clear record exists to support, and does so without extending that same regulatory authority to cable and satellite companies with whom local stations compete,” the write.
The broadcasters also say the bill “asserts unprecedented extension of FCC regulatory authority over private marketplace negotiations.”
Broadcasters urge the Committee not to use the renewal of the satellite TV laws “to address extraneous issues that further undermine broadcasters’ programming rights.
“At a minimum, such significant policy changes should be subject to thoughtful discussion and consideration, rather than being rushed through the Committee process,” the broadcasters write.