Media Bureau orders EchoStar to begin carrying signal of KPIF

On May 11, the Media Bureau ordered EchoStar to begin carrying the signal of KPIF-TV signal in the Pocatello, ID, DMA within 90 days and dismissed a carriage complaint filed by KM Television of Jackson, WY, on behalf of KBEO-TV.

At issue in the KPIF complaint was whether EchoStar was obligated to carry the station under the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act (SHVIA) of 1999. The act specifies that a satellite carrier must carry on request all television broadcast station signals in a local market where the satellite carrier carries at least one local station pursuant to the statutory copyright license. It defines “local market” as the designated market area where the station is located and defines “designated market area” as the DMA determined by Nielsen Media Research.

EchoStar rejected a request from KPIF to carry its signal because the station’s “license to cover” was pending for two years and was listed on the commission Web site as “CP Off Air.” Further, EchoStar cited that fact that Nielsen did not list KPIF as part of the Idaho Falls-Pocatello market.

In ordering EchoStar to carry the station, the Media Bureau acknowledged that the station was incorrectly listed as “CP Off Air,” but a letter from the station to EchoStar requesting coverage should have triggered an inquiry. Further, the station was broadcasting pursuant to its program test authority, and the FCC has noted that such stations are entitled to mandatory carriage.

The Media Bureau also noted that editions of Nielsen publications available in September 2005 when KPIF made its carriage request assign the station to the Pocatello DMA.

The Media Bureau denied requiring EchoStar to carry KBEO because the station has been off air since Aug. 28, 2005, and because Nielsen has never listed the station as part of the DMA.

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