Entravision comments draw fire from network stations

May 31, 2004

Entravision Communications, the owner of Spanish-language stations, told the FCC it should not adopt multicasting must-carry because it might lead to a court challenge that results in the end of must-carry altogether.

Should the courts outlaw must-carry altogether — a distinct possibility many legal experts have said — smaller stations may not have the clout to get cable carriage at all. Therefore, in Entravision’s opinion, the FCC’s decision should not adopt such an aggressive policy.

That position — contrary to the mainstream position of broadcasters — has drawn fire from CBS and NBC affiliate associations.

The CBS and NBC affiliates told the FCC in a letter that Entravision is off base in its opinion. “We believe Entravision’s position is backward looking and contrary to its own self interest. Rather than jeopardizing the future of smaller and independent stations,” wrote Bob Lee (CBS) and Terry Mackin (NBC), “multicasting opens promising opportunities for them to enhance the services they provide to their viewers,” as well as “generate additional revenue streams.”

The station affiliates also contend Entravision’s premise is faulty if it is based on the assumption that DTV must-carry rules will be challenged only if the commission adopts multicast must-carry. “There is equally likely to be a court challenge if the commission does not adopt a multicast must-carry requirement,” they wrote.

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