The FCC Media Bureau denied a must carry complaint the Minority Television Project filed against DISH last year after the satellite provider said it wasn’t required to carry the channel because its election notice was not sent via certified mail. The owner of noncommercial KMTP San Francisco sent its election letter via USPS Priority Mail.
Here’s a situation at the FCC worth watching as we could see similar requests down the line. Entravision has asked the agency to modify the TV market of WJAL after receiving $25.5 mlllion in the incentive auction to vacate the station’s original channel allocation in Hagerstown, Md.
Come Jan. 1, Comcast will begin carrying the three Estrella TV stations in Houston, Denver and Salt Lake City that it dropped in 2015. That’s because station owner Liberman Broadcasting Inc. has selected must-carry status in the just-wrapped election cycle.
On or before Oct. 1, each full-power commercial television station must make an election between must carry and retransmission consent. In addition, although noncommercial TV stations do not have retransmission consent rights, they must send carriage notices to DBS (and other satellite operators) on or before Oct. 1 in order to obtain (or maintain) carriage on the satellite operator’s system.
Maybe so, says the General Accountability Office in a congressionally mandated study. A market-based approach to licensing broadcast programming to cable and satellite operators might be a better way, it says. If it works in the OTT world, why not cable and satellite, it asks. One sticking point is what to do with must-carry rules, which rely on the compulsory license.
The trade group says the FCC should impose the same basic regulations on online video distributors as they do on MVPDs. Among other things, that would include retrans and must-carry obligations.
Few dates on the broadcasters’ calendar are easier to miss than the deadline for TV stations (and a few fortunate LPTV stations) to send their must-carry/retransmission election letters to cable and satellite providers in their markets. Because it doesn’t occur every year, or even every other year, but every third year, the triennial deadline can slip up on you if you. For those who haven’t been paying attention, Oct. 1 is the deadline for TV stations to send their carriage election letters to MVPDs.
A new study commissioned by the National Association of Broadcasters, National Religious Broadcasters and the National Black Religious Broadcasters, finds that cable and satellite claims that must-carry is a burden are not valid and that their carriage capacity is not constrained by technological barriers.
The FCC has ruled that a must-carry station cannot expect to keep its channel number on a cable system based on its previous analog channel, but instead will be given a channel number from its new digital channel designation.
A coalition of broadcasters is working to extend the FCC rule that requires cable operators to carry must-carry signals in an analog format so viewers with old TV sets can continue to watch them. Many affected must-carry stations provide services that are appreciated by narrow segments of the America public. In other words, they provide diversity in programming — one of the pillars of FCC policy. By letting the rule expire, the FCC would unnecessarily hurt the weakest stations, diminish their value and threaten the diversity they bring to the public.
The National Religious Broadcasters is urging Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) to drop their support for legislation eliminating must-carry regulations — a proposal the group claims could spell the ruin of many religious broadcasters.