Noncoms Ask FCC For One-Time Satellite Must-Carry Election

Said it makes sense and would close carriage-loss loophole
Author:
Publish date:

WASHINGTON--Noncommercial educational (NCE) TV stations want the FCC to end the mandatory three-year satellite election of most-carry status by noncommercial TV stations, saying it is both unnecessary and that DBS providers have used it as a loophole through which to drop carriage.

That came in comments to the FCC on its ongoing effort to modernize media regs.

pbs-logo

In those comments, PBS, NPR, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and America's Public Television Stations said that given that noncommercial TV stations can't, unlike commercial stations, elect retransmission consent--and obviously want DirecTV and Dish to carry them--the election is simply a rote process.

They point out that there is no similar three-year election for cable carriage, which simply continues indefinitely unless there is a change in circumstance that modifies the must-carry agreement.

"The DBS rules should be aligned with the cable rules to permit a one-time election that continues for as long as the station remains qualified for carriage," they said.

In addition, they argue that, in at least a "handful of cases, each three-year cycle, the requirements "turn out to be a trap for the unwary NCE-TV station, resulting in the loss of DBS carriage in the station’s market for the next three years."