CBS affiliate execs tell FCC to watch out for cable trickery

Cable operators could deliberately create retransmission stalemates with local broadcast affiliates just to make a point to the FCC that they believe the current system is in need of repair, a group of CBS affiliate association executives told the commissioners.

The execs suggested a scenario where a service provider, faced with a retransmission situation with a local broadcaster, would have an incentive to gum up the works to prove that retransmission consent reform--as petitioned by Time Warner and others in the industry--is a priority and that there should be rules in place that include arbitration and keeping signals on the air at all times. The execs, of course, think the present system works just fine, despite the brinksmanship both cable and broadcasters have recently used over broadcast fees.

While they were at it, the broadcasters also reiterated that they're not happy with any FCC plans to reclaim broadcast spectrum and reallocate it to wireless as part of the national broadband plan.

Elsewhere in the world of broadcasting, the Advanced Television Systems Committee isn't conceding anything to the Internet, cable or satellite TV when it comes to the future of broadcasting. The group, whose initial purpose was to transition broadcasting from analog to digital--a purpose still being pursued internationally--has formed planning teams to consider technical and market feasibility of terrestrial broadcast of 3D TV, mobile digital TV (DTV) and Internet-connected TV technologies.

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