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Comment Deadline Set on FCC’s Retransmission Proposal

WASHINGTON: Comment deadlines are set for the Federal Communications Commission retransmission reform proposal. The commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on retrans was approved unanimously three weeks ago. It’s now been published in the Federal Register, kicking in the comment periods. Initial comments are due May 27; replies, by June 27.

Among other things, the NPRM seeks feedback on the elimination of non-duplication and syndication exclusivity rules. This would allow a cable operator to pick up an out-of-market TV station should the operator come to a stand-off with an in-market broadcast affiliate. TV stations can now assert the non-duplication rule on cable systems serving their designated market area.

Current FCC rules also direct that retransmission negotiations be held in “good faith.” The NPRM seeks feedback on just what constitutes good faith. Negotiations have become more contentious over the last few years, resulting in high-profile squabbles and broadcast signals being yanked from cable systems. The FCC’s NRPM seeks comment on how to prevent such service disruptions. (See “FCC Retrans Proposal Includes Elimination of Non-Dupe Rule.”)

The FCC retransmission NPRM Docket No. is 10-71.
-- Deborah D. McAdams