NAB Praises STELA Move to Foreclose FCC JSA Limit

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The National Association of Broadcasters still questions the need to reauthorize the satellite distant signal blanket license given that local TV stations are being delivered by satellite companies "in nearly every DMA [designated market area] and are a thriving competitive alternative to cable."

But that said, NAB also says the draft reauthorization bill that will be the subject of the March 12 hearing in the House Communications Subcommittee is "a product NAB can support." That is according to the prepared testimony for NAB's witness at the hearing, Marci Burdick, television board chair and senior VP for station owner Schurz Communications.

"Our primary interest in this legislation was to prevent the picking of marketplace winners and losers, which is why we have asked for a clean bill," said Burdick. "We are happy to see that this STELA draft steers clear of these kind of provisions."

Actually the bill does remove the prohibition on cable operators dropping TV stations during sweeps periods and would prevent coordinated retransmission negotiations among two independently owned stations in a market unless the cable operator agrees to it. But gone from the draft is a proposal that would have removed the mandate that retransmission stations be offered on cable's must-buy basic tier, and the fact that there is a provision that would prevent the FCC from making joint sales agreements (JSAs) attributable.

[March 11]

NAB Praises STELA Move to Foreclose FCC JSA Limit