Former FCC, NTIA Official Henry Geller

Henry Geller, who as the general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission during the Johnson administration and activist head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in the Carter years played a large role in the development of broadcasting, cable and telecommunications over the last quarter of the 20th century, died in Washington (DC) April 7 after a long battle with cancer. He was 96.

Satellite TV’s Orbit Is Failing Fast

Both DirecTV and long-time rival Dish Network have recently reported fourth quarter 2018 operating results and the numbers are not good. DirecTV lost 403,000 subscribers in the quarter, compared to 147,000 in the same quarter of 2017. The service is now shedding subscribers at a rate of 6.1% per quarter. The satellite operators are suffering from the same problem as cable operators are — the proliferation of broadband over-the-top (OTT) services.

End of Repack? Would You Believe 2025?

The 957 stations moving to new channels in the Federal Communications Commission repack of the TV band might get up and running on those channels in two years as the agency has mandated, but many may have to settle for temporary side-mount antennas and loss of coverage for three to five years because there aren't enough tower rigging crews to go around. What can be done?

Fox Buying 7 Sinclair Spinoffs for $910 Million

21st Century Fox signed a definitive agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media to acquire seven stations for approximately $910 million. The move is designed to speed federal approval of the $4.6 billion Sinclair-Tribune merger and follows news of spinoffs of 23 other stations from that deal. The transaction will grow Fox Television Stations' coverage to nearly half of all US households, and its market presence to 19 of the top 20 DMAs, including the addition of key markets that align with Fox's sports rights.

Suddenly, Time Is Of Essence for Sinclair/Tribune

[Commentary] It makes sense for Sinclair to keep things rolling at the Federal Communications Commission and close on the Tribune merger before a possible adverse court ruling on the FCC's UHF discount, which could come in August or September. I think that Sinclair now understands the urgency. The regulatory and legal picture is complicated. But under all the scenarios, its chances improve the quicker it moves with the Fox deal, the FCC process and the closing.

Chairman Pai Should Finish the Job On Local TV Caps

[Commentary] The FCC chairman has done much to advance his deregulation agenda but there’s one conspicuous exception — the local TV ownership rule that prevents ownership of two top-four stations in a market. To put such combos together, you have to get what amounts to a waiver and that can be costly and time consuming.