As part of a House telecom committee proposal for STELA legislation, broadcasters with JSAs who applied for a waiver from the FCC would be able to keep the sharing arrangements intact for 18 months after the agency ultimately rejected a waiver request, or Dec. 31, 2016, whichever is later. The compromise JSA language is expected to be included in the STELA reauthorization bill that is scheduled for a House Energy and Commerce Committee vote tomorrow.
Stations May Get More Time On JSA Deals
Broadcasters may not have to unwind existing joint sales agreements until the end of 2016 or later under a provision that a House committee is expected to include in a pending satellite TV bill on Thursday, sources say.
The provision, part of a bipartisan congressional compromise, would essentially give broadcasters more time to dissolve the sharing agreements than the FCC would allow under the JSA crackdown the agency adopted March 31.
Under its controversial crackdown, the FCC barred the formation of new JSAs as of March 31, and gave holders of existing agreements two years to end them, except when broadcasters could persuade the agency that a particular arrangement served the public interest and warranted a waiver.
Under the legislative compromise, broadcasters with JSAs who applied for a waiver from the FCC would be able to keep the sharing arrangements intact for 18 months after the agency ultimately rejected a waiver request, or Dec. 31, 2016, whichever deadline is later.
The compromise JSA language is expected to be included in a bill to reauthorize the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA), which is scheduled for a House Energy and Commerce Committee vote tomorrow, Thursday, May 8.
The compromise also extends STELA, which is widely expected to be reauthorized by federal lawmakers before it expires at the end of this year, for five years. STELA clears the way for satellite TV companies to retransmit distant TV signals into some local markets.
The STELA bill compromise also would prohibit TV stations from jointly negotiating retransmission consent deals with independently owned stations in the same market.
In addition, the STELA bill compromise would eliminate a rule that currently bars pay TV operators from dropping broadcasters during ratings sweeps periods.
The compromise, according to a draft of the legislation obtained by TVNewsCheck, also would order the Comptroller General of the United States to study the potential impact that phasing out the compulsory copyright license might have on consumers.
One industry source says committee lawmakers may also recommend that the Government Accountability Office study the FCC’s network nonduplication and syndicated exclusivity rules.
The FCC on March 31 proposed to eliminate those regulations, which make it easier for TV stations to protect the exclusivity of their programming in their markets.
Another possible GAO study may also look into the impact that cable interconnects are having on competition in local advertising markets, an industry source says.