|For Immediate Release
June 12, 2012
Manassas, VA – NRB expressed concern with last night’s decision by the FCC to terminate an important corollary to “Must-Carry” law, the Viewability Rule. The Viewability Rule ensures that all cable subscribers, including those with analog equipment, are able to view free, local “Must-Carry” broadcast signals.
In a letter to Capitol Hill last week, NRB President and CEO Dr. Frank Wright emphasized, “This completely undermines ‘Must-Carry’ and we have strongly urged the FCC to extend this ‘viewability’ requirement so as to avoid a substantial burden on our faith-based stations, particularly after the significant investment of those stations to satisfy the recent digital transition mandate.” In addition, highlighting that Congress sought through “Must-Carry” law to make local television station programming free to consumers, Dr. Wright noted, “If cable companies can force some of their subscribers to pay for set-top devices now, can future fees imposed on customers to access local programming, including religious content, be far behind?”
Earlier this year, the FCC affirmed in its rulemaking notice on “Carriage of Digital Television Broadcast Signals” that “must-carry stations must be viewable” and proceeded to highlight that “the available market evidence seems to indicate that the viewability requirements remain important to consumers…. as of the third quarter of 2011, more than twelve million cable households were reliant on analog cable delivery.” Despite those assertions, however, the FCC voted to sunset the rule after six months.
In response to last night’s FCC decision, Aaron Mercer, NRB Vice President of Government Relations, stated, "The Viewability Rule made sense under ‘Must-Carry’ law and in today's marketplace. NRB is concerned that this FCC decision will be detrimental to many Americans who rely on religious TV to nourish their spirits."
The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is a non-partisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers. Our mission is to advance biblical truth; to promote media excellence; and to defend free speech. In addition to promoting standards of excellence, integrity, and accountability, NRB provides networking, educational, ministry, and fellowship opportunities for its members.Learn more at www.nrb.org.
About the NRB Convention
The annual NRB Convention & Exposition is the largest nationally and internationally recognized event dedicated solely to assist those in the field of Christian communications. The dynamic Exposition consists of nearly 200 companies and is an active marketplace for those seeking tools and services to expand their organizations.NRB 2013 will be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN, March 2-5, 2013.
National Religious Broadcasters
9510 Technology Drive
Manassas, VA 20110