Next Tuesday, May 14, Senators with seats on the Communications Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee will review the “State of Video.” Chairman Mark Pryor (D-AR) has called the hearing as one in a series looking into America’s current communications landscape. With top leaders from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and DISH Network, as well as Public Knowledge, called to testify, ongoing TV debates are likely to be stirred. Among subjects of particular interest to NRB are respect for the importance of “Must Carry” law and spectrum rights.
“Must Carry” law, enacted by Congress in 1992 under the Cable Act and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1997, enables many local television broadcast stations, including religious stations, to be viewed on pay-TV platforms. NRB has affirmed and will continue to affirm the vital importance of “Must Carry” law for religious TV broadcasters. Indeed, efforts to eliminate that law could be fatal to many Christian TV stations and may harm the ability of millions of Americans to continue accessing the religious programming on which they rely.
Regarding spectrum, Congress last year passed legislation authorizing a voluntary incentive spectrum auction. The FCC formally began this proceeding in September 2012 in hopes of finalizing rules in 2013 and completing the auction in 2014. NRB filed public comments encouraging the FCC to purposefully protect the programming choice for Americans, specifically the religious and family programming that NRB Members provide free of charge to local communities. NRB also highlighted the "no-alter" clause in the Spectrum Act for low power television (LPTV) and proposed constructive solutions to keep important religious and family LPTV programming on the air for consumers. NRB continues to urge a process that fairly honors the services and investments of all Christian television broadcasters in their local communities. In addition, NRB supports legislative efforts to enact a much-needed comprehensive accounting of America’s electromagnetic spectrum.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: May 10, 2013