Broadcasters bite back at spectrum, retransmission issues

Broadcasters are a bit feisty these days about issues that could potentially impact that cable industry.

NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton took indirect aim at the cable industry when he blogged: "God forbid that there would be a serious and thorough review of whether companies that were given or bought spectrum are actually following through on timetables and promises to deploy it." The NAB has maintained that before Congress or the FCC snatch away more broadcast spectrum, they should look at how airwaves purchased by cable and other providers is being used--or not used.

And, on another hot topic for cable--just ask the American Cable Association (ACA)--Washington communications lawyer Michael Berg delivered a "history lesson on retrans for the FCC" in broadcast trade pub TVNewsCheck. In the "lesson," Berg pointed out that retrans rules were initially started because cable operators were benefiting from local broadcast signals "without broadcaster consent or copyright liability" which resulted in "an effective (governmental) subsidy to cable operators."

Berg argues further that the FCC's notice of proposed rulemaking on retransmission ignores the plight of "small and independent TV stations (that) are typically forced by MVPDs to accept less favorable terms than network-affiliated, larger and longer-established stations."

For more:
- Variety has this story
- TVNewsCheck has this story

Related articles:
Retransmission deals boost Sinclair Broadcast Group (Nasdaq: SBGI) in 4Q 2010
Retrans fight pushes cable closer to a la carte
Broadcasters not willing to participate in voluntary spectrum auction