HOME > NEWSROOM > ARTICLES > Hearing Sets Stage for TV Law Debate

Hearing Sets Stage for TV Law Debate

Draft legislation unveiled in advance of a hearing this week on satellite television law is preparing the way for a battle on video law more broadly. The provisions of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA) are set to sunset at the end of this year, but this week’s hearing showed that Republicans and Democrats in Congress are not yet on the same page about how to approach extending the term of that statute.

One sticking point at this moment appears to be joint sales agreements (JSAs).  Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, took issue with the draft bill’s proposal to halt FCC proceedings on JSAs in advance of a completed quadrennial review of media ownership rules. For his part, Chairman Greg Walden said he was “really frustrated with the FCC,” and in his opening statement he declared, “[FCC] Chairman Wheeler is putting the JSA cart before the media ownership horse. The FCC is required by law to review the entire set of media ownership laws every four years. It has consistently failed to follow the law. If a licensee of the FCC failed to follow the law, it would lose its license or suffer some severe penalty.”

Significantly, in this initial draft legislation, rules establishing the responsibility of pay-TV providers to carry local TV stations on their base platforms (“Must Carry”) are not altered.  NRB has been vocal in its concern that Congress not abandon the decades-old commitment to local television, particularly religious television, and NRB will continue to be vigilant in this area of great importance for Christian television ministries.

Notably, Senate Commerce Committee leaders are also considering how wide of a communications law net to cast as they begin their review of STELA, and the Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on this subject on March 26.

  • Learn more about this hearing here.
  • Find recent news from NRB on this topic here and here
  • NRB’s public comment filed with the FCC in support of “Must Carry” is available here.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: March 14, 2014

Latest News

Constitutionality of Internet Authority Transfer Questioned

Four key Members of Congress are asking questions about the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s plan to transition Internet oversight authority to a private stakeholder group.

Librarian of Congress Exits

Late last week, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington made a surprise announcement that he intended to resign his post effective September 30 rather than at the end of the year, as he had declared in June.

Commissioners Push for AM Radio

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai (R) this week announced that he is continuing the push for a new FM translator application window solely for AM broadcasters.

New House Leadership Elections Coming Next Week

After his surprise announcement to resign from Congress at the end of October, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) notified House Republicans this week that new leadership elections will take place next Thursday.

Save Up to $200; Register for Proclaim 16 by the End of the Month

Registration is open for Proclaim 16, the NRB International Christian Media Convention, which will be held February 23-26, 2016, in Nashville, TN. But to take advantage of the Early Bird Registration discounts, you’ll need to register by November 1, 2015.

Louisiana College Inaugurates Dr. Rick Brewer as 9th President

Dr. Rick Brewer was inaugurated as Louisiana College's ninth president last month – six months after Louisiana College trustees unanimously elected him to the position, and five months after he officially took office.

Christian Media Students: Win an iNRB Award!

Did you know that Christian students with an interest or major in broadcasting, journalism, or media communications are not only eligible to join iNRB, but are also able to participate in the annual iNRB contests and competitions for awards, prizes, and scholarships?

In Case You Missed It: Fox News Special on Planned Parenthood’s ‘Hidden Harvest’ Now Online

Fox News has made available online a special report that it aired early last month highlighting the undercover video expose on Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue business.

John MacArthur Details Mysteries of God’s Kingdom in New Book: Parables

This month, Nelson Books will release the latest book by Pastor John MacArthur, Parables, which attempts to help Christians understand the essential lessons contained in the most famous and influential short stories the world has ever known.

Battle to Respect the Sanctity of Human Life Remains at Center Stage

Most Senate Democrats and two Senate Republicans voted to block legislation that would largely outlaw abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, an age at which science is clear that a prenatal child can feel pain.

More News