The lawmakers from Colorado and Wyoming say the satellite operator’s offering of distant signals from New York and Los Angeles in place of local affiliates in 12 small markets is “unacceptable” and “must end.”
Broadcasters, led by the NAB, are urging lawmakers to let the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization, or STELAR, expire on Dec. 31. STELAR is at the top of NAB’s legislative hit list in part because it has morphed into a tool that one company in particular — DirecTV — has been using to bypass stations and retransmission consent fees in up to a dozen markets. But of larger concern is that cable and satellite operators will use the legislation as a vehicle to weaken broadcasters’ retransmission consent rights.
With the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) set to expire at the end of the year, the American Cable Association’s Ross Lieberman was optimistic there could be some retransmission consent reform included in its renewal.
The National Association of Broadcasters is circulating a policy paper on Capitol Hill advocating for not renewing the STELAR law (Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act) when it expires at the end of 2019. STELAR reauthorizes the satellite compulsory distant signal license for five years. But last time around it was also a vehicle for some cable-friendly changes to retrans, including renewing the FCC’s enforcement of good faith retrans negotiations and extending the commission’s prohibition on coordinated retrans negotiations among noncommonly owned TV stations in a market from the top four to all stations.