WASHINGTON—Did the FCC just grant must-carry status to all class A's and LPTV's, potentially filling cable lineups with hundreds if not thousands of channels they would have to carry at a time when cable ops argue such capacity is at a premium.
Well, no, but the LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition had a little fun with the premise Monday, given the April 1 date.
"FCC GRANTS IMMEDIATE AND TOTAL MVPD MUST CARRY STATUS TO ALL CLASS A's & LPTV," read the email alert's headline in huge red letters.
"Using a novel and never used before free market emergency decree from the original 1932 Communications Act," said the coalition, "the FCC commissioners bypass the intent of Congress to level the next gen TV landscape."
"The low power industry applauds this historic and bold move," said Coalition director Mike Gravino, tongue planted firmly in cheek. Soon 1000's of local stations and their many 1000s of digi-net sub-channels will be able to force their way onto both large and small cable systems and all DBS providers. And finally, all FCC licensed TV broadcasters will be treated equally, fairly, and all share in the corporate welfare of the state."
Actually, the coalition wouldn't mind a little of the corporate largess in the form of ad dollars going to "real small businesses," if it were more than just an April Fool's wish. "Oh, well, at least we can dream about it," said Gravino.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Tech, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.