Broadcasters urge status quo on retransmission policy

The NAB, supported by four national television networks and several broadcast associations, has asked Congress to keep current policies on retransmission consent.

Under retransmission consent regulations originally established in 1992, television stations can elect either mandatory cable carriage known as “must carry” or retransmission, a negotiated agreement in exchange for carriage.

Now, a coalition led by the American Cable Association (ACA), a trade group representing rural and small cable operators, is asking Congress to overhaul retransmission consent. The group, among other things, is seeking changes to network non-duplication rules and exclusive contracts that bar cable operators from carrying TV stations located outside their markets.

The NAB group, in a letter released last week, called the ACA’s campaign “highly misleading” and asked members of Congress to maintain current policy, allowing broadcasters to “negotiate freely with their cable rivals for fair compensation” for cable’s carriage of their signals.

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