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

NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson to Participate in Values Voter Summit 2014

Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, will lead a powerful dialogue about recent attacks to our freedoms of religion and speech during next month’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC.

Hope for Hurting Hearts Continues to Touch Lives and Win Awards

Hope for Hurting Hearts, a documentary film produced by Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, recently added another distinction to its running list of awards and accolades – this time for Best Editing from the Pan Pacific Film Festival.

Pure Flix's God's Not Dead Tops Home Video Sales Charts

God’s Not Dead, a film from NRB member Pure Flix Entertainment, debuted earlier this month at No. 1 on the Nielsen Christian Videos sales chart and No. 2 on the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart, which tracks overall Blu-ray and DVD combined sales.

Do You Want to Highlight Your Organization in NRB Today - For Free?

We are soliciting descriptions about NRB members to feature in our weekly e-newsletter, NRB Today, and on the NRB website. If you are a member of NRB and are interested in being featured ...

NRBMLC Files Comments to DOJ on ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees

The NRB Music License Committee (NRBMLC) filed comments with the U.S. Department of Justice last week in response to its plans to review the “consent decrees” that govern how the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) license songs for public performance in the United States.

National Radio Day: A Look Back at the Early Days of Christian Broadcasting

When radio emerged as a public medium in the early 1920s, preachers were fascinated but cautious.

Christian Advocacy Group Protests Offensive Cartoon Network Program

The Christian Film & Television Commission® (CFTVC), an advocacy group promoting quality Christian entertainment, is organizing a protest against Black Jesus, the Cartoon Network’s new controversial program.

CBN’s Superbook Partners with Newton Media

Newton Media has been selected to partner with CBN’s Superbook to brand market their award-winning animated Bible series and build their continuity program via DRTV, barter syndication, and digital platforms.

4 FEBC Volunteers Martyred in Ukraine

Four young FEBC volunteers who were recently captured by pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine were brutally beaten to death simply for being Christians, according to a report from the organization last week.

Answers in Genesis: Ark Encounter Will Not Be Built with State Funds

Answers in Genesis, the apologetics ministry of Ken Ham, is working to make it clear that the full-scale Noah’s Ark that it plans to build in Williamstown, KY, will not be constructed with state funds.

More News