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Religious Broadcasting Highlighted at Senate Hearing

The importance of Must-Carry law for religious television broadcasting was highlighted at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing this week on “The Cable Act at 20.” His interest piqued by a letter from New Mexico constituent and NRB member Annette Garcia of Son Broadcasting Network, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) asked the hearing panel about the effects that not having Must-Carry law would have on religious broadcasters. Former Senator Gordon Smith, President of the National Association of Broadcasters, responded that Must-Carry is significant for fostering diversity on the airwaves, especially for religious, rural, foreign language, and minority broadcasters.

Before the hearing, Dr. Frank Wright, President and CEO of NRB, declared, “Congress and the Supreme Court were right in establishing and upholding today’s Must-Carry law. Religious TV stations providing valuable content and services for their local communities have blossomed in recent decades. I encourage Senators to recognize the important place of these ministries for TV consumers and to uphold sound and unobtrusive Must-Carry law.”

Must-Carry law enables many local television broadcast stations, including religious stations, to be viewed on pay-TV platforms. Today’s Must-Carry rights were enacted by Congress in 1992 under the Cable Act and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1997.

  • Find video and written testimony from this hearing.
  • Find NRB’s press release in advance of this hearing and NRB’s letter of concern about legislation that threatens Must-Carry law.

 By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations

Published: July 27, 2012