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Court Denies Cablevision Must-Carry Review

NEW YORK: A federal appeals court denied Cablevision’s petition to review a must-carry order from the FCC. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a determination by the Federal Communications Commission requiring Cablevision to carry WRNN-TV in certain areas of the New York market. In the mid-’90s, he cable operator asked the FCC to modify the area where WRNN and several other stations are carried, which the FCC is required by law to consider.

Cablevision wanted to drop WRNN from its Long Island systems, but the FCC said no. WRNN, an independent station comprising home shopping and infomercials, was granted carriage in Long Island and Cablevision appealed, saying the FCC’s decision was unconstitutional.

“In its petition for review, Cablevision argues that the FCC’s order improperly analyzed the statutory factors, that its decision contravened the ‘purpose’ of the must-carry statute, and that requiring Cablevision to carry WRNN violates the First and Fifth Amendments,” wrote Judge John Walker in the ruling issued on Monday. “…Because we find no abuse of discretion or constitutional violation in the FCC’s decision to include the relevant Long Island communities in WRNN’s market for must-carry purposes, we deny the petition for review. In accordance with our order of March 14, 2008, the stay of the FCC order pending judicial review is vacated, and the applicable deadline for Cablevision’s compliance is one week from the issuance of the mandate in this case.”
-- Deborah D. McAdams