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NAB says it's time to stop selling distant signals


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#1 OFFLINE   FTA Michael

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:53 AM

According to a report by Broadcasting & Cable's John Eggerton, the NAB plans to tell a House Communications Subcommittee today to allow the satellite distant signal compulsory license to expire when it takes up the reauthorization of Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA). That's the license that allows Dish to sell subscriptions to the five grandfathered superstations (WPIX, WWOR, WSBK, KWGN, KTLA) and all other distant signals.

"While originally adopted to provide network programming to the large number of satellite viewers unable to receive it from their local station, today more than 98% of viewers have the option of viewing network programming from their local affiliate," Eggerton quoted, apparently as part of prepared testimony for Jane Mago, the NAB's executive vice president and general counsel. It's all couched in protecting and promoting "localism". Don't get me started on that.

Eggerton says the NAB might settle for narrowing the range of viewers for distant signals. You really should read the full story here: http://www.broadcast...nal_License.php

Edited by FTA Michael, 13 February 2013 - 09:56 AM.
It's more than just the superstations

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#2 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:29 AM

I say it's time to stop the NAB.
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#3 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:09 AM

The critical piece of information is in this paragraph:

That license allows satellite carriers to retransmit distant affiliated TV station signals into markets that cannot receive a local affiliate of the same network. Satellite operators do not have to negotiate for that carriage, and they can import nearby significantly viewed stations as well as distant ones.

And then we have this juxtaposition of paragraphs:

"...Congress should continue to rebuff the efforts of the satellite and cable industries to persuade the government to intervene in free-market retransmission negotiations."

Mago suggests that the local-into-local compulsory license is the better way to handle local station carriage -- that is the requirement that if a satellite carrier offers any local TV station in a market he must offer all, essentially a must-carry provision similar to that for cable.

They propose to allow the free market to determine the price the locals will extract from you and me by using a Congressional mandate?

The problem is those Congress members want those local stations reaching every voter for political ads every two years, ads paid for by lobbyists like the NAB.

And this isn't just about Dish, though Charlie has miffed the NAB members and Congress members with the Hopper automatically skipping those political ads.

It's time to get rid of paying for local broadcast stations.

Edited by phrelin, 13 February 2013 - 11:14 AM.
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#4 OFFLINE   Paul Secic

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:45 AM

According to a report by Broadcasting & Cable's John Eggerton, the NAB plans to tell a House Communications Subcommittee today to allow the satellite distant signal compulsory license to expire when it takes up the reauthorization of Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA). That's the license that allows Dish to sell subscriptions to the five grandfathered superstations (WPIX, WWOR, WSBK, KWGN, KTLA) and all other distant signals.

"While originally adopted to provide network programming to the large number of satellite viewers unable to receive it from their local station, today more than 98% of viewers have the option of viewing network programming from their local affiliate," Eggerton quoted, apparently as part of prepared testimony for Jane Mago, the NAB's executive vice president and general counsel. It's all couched in protecting and promoting "localism". Don't get me started on that.

Eggerton says the NAB might settle for narrowing the range of viewers for distant signals. You really should read the full story here: http://www.broadcast...nal_License.php


Ten years ago I got a letter from Dish saying KBCW a CBS station ask to block KTLA in my zipcode, and the rest of the Superstations. So I was out of luck.

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#5 OFFLINE   nmetro

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:54 PM

So, here we have technology which allows someone to view any over the air TV station anywhere in the US. Tough, there are spot beams; it is technologically possible for me in Longmont, Colorado to get a TV station in New York City.

Let's face it, with the merger of the media industry, locally owned TV stations have more or less gone the way of locally owned radio stations. If you watch KUSA in Denver, their newscast is no different that the one at WUSA in Washington DC (both owned by Gannett). Yet, there is an appeal to watch out of market TV, besides newscasts and network shows; local produced programming and movies.

Though, when I was a DSIH subscriber, having access to the Superstations, watching news from LA, Boston and New York proved useful and some cases valuable. While Denver is reporting the Broncos, or a wild fire, wall to wall in newscasts, and something was going on in New York, I could watch that coverage.

Yet, the NAB is about making money and limiting competition. The government is bad, until private industry needs the government for their pocketbook. Trying to get a waver is impossible. Where I live, I have two choices satellite or Comcast. Getting over the air is next to impossible. But, the FCC, forced by the NAB, still use coverage maps for analog TV to determine which zip code is in which market area fro Satellite.

So, again paid lobbyists, and a [paid off Congress, will support the big media companies. Yes, we live in a free market system, but that free market is manipulated to the betterment of profits. Another case where the so called land of opportunity lacks an even playing field.

#6 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 02:01 PM

And yet I don't get their objections when so many of them stream at least part of their broadcasts, especially their local news and some local sports events.

What difference does it make if I'm not watching my local news because I'm watching a distant local news on satellite or watching a distant local news on the web?
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#7 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 04:43 PM

DISH has the Superstations, which were more important when they were not network stations. DISH decided to no longer sell distant networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox) last year.

If I wrote the rules the NAB would not like me. :) There would be no consent to carry and every station would be carried under a statutory license (as the superstations and distants were carried) where the fee is set by the government instead of negotiations. I'd rather see no carriage fees but statutory fees are better than "whatever the station demands".

Stations would be carried where they covered. White spaces would be filled by an in market station (if available) or an in state station if there were no station of that network in the market. Stations would be rewarded for their coverage with carriage.

But I don't write the rules. :(

#8 OFFLINE   scooper

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 04:51 PM

DISH has the Superstations, which were more important when they were not network stations. DISH decided to no longer sell distant networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox) last year.

If I wrote the rules the NAB would not like me. :) There would be no consent to carry and every station would be carried under a statutory license (as the superstations and distants were carried) where the fee is set by the government instead of negotiations. I'd rather see no carriage fees but statutory fees are better than "whatever the station demands".

Stations would be carried where they covered. White spaces would be filled by an in market station (if available) or an in state station if there were no station of that network in the market. Stations would be rewarded for their coverage with carriage.

But I don't write the rules. :(



James- those are too common sense - no way would anybody accept them :)
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#9 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:13 PM

But I don't write the rules. :(


If I did, I'd find a way to allow anyone to buy locals from any city they wish. If someone moves from Dayton, OH to Phoenix, AZ and wants to see the stations from their former home, they should be able to.

Yeah, yeah, I know, there are technical issues with that, but years ago there were technical issues getting locals at all.
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#10 OFFLINE   kc1ih

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:34 PM

[quote name='nmetro']
If you watch KUSA in Denver, their newscast is no different that the one at WUSA in Washington DC (both owned by Gannett).

That's nonsense. Do you really think a station in DC will tell you what is happening in the Colorado legislature or the Denver city council? If you think that stuff is unimportant just wait till you get your tax bill.

#11 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 04:44 AM

I'd find a way to allow anyone to buy locals from any city they wish. If someone moves from Dayton, OH to Phoenix, AZ and wants to see the stations from their former home, they should be able to.


This is what viewers want, and I think we could at least see some markets (say, the top 10 or so) have nationwide coverage if it was permitted. But the problem is copyright law gives the holder the right to set the terms and conditions of distribution, and the networks do not want you watching a distant signal. It hurts local commercial revenue, which ultimately harms the network's ability to charge the affiliates for membership.

#12 OFFLINE   FTA Michael

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:22 AM

John Eggerton, the hardest-working man in Washington, follows up with a _lengthy_ report about the "informational" hearing yesterday. The good news is that Dish brought up fixing the retransmission consent system, a thought echoed by a ranking member of the subcommittee, Anna Eshoo (D-CA). The bad news is those people who wanted to scrap distant signals altogether or limit their availability.

The story is much too long to summarize easily, so go read it: http://www.broadcast...nal_License.php
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#13 OFFLINE   Grandude

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:41 PM

If I did, I'd find a way to allow anyone to buy locals from any city they wish. If someone moves from Dayton, OH to Phoenix, AZ and wants to see the stations from their former home, they should be able to.
Yeah, yeah, I know, there are technical issues with that, but years ago there were technical issues getting locals at all.

That is exactly what I would love to have. Living the first 20 years of my life in Duluth, MN, it would be nice to be able to watch the local news from there.

I do watch a couple of web cams from back there on a daily basis. Nice to see that it is snowing there while I'm basking in the sunshine here in the SF Bay area.:grin:

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#14 OFFLINE   Geronimo

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 02:51 PM

If I am not mistaken the authority for distant networks is separate and distinct from the authority for Superstations. This article reds like it applies to the former and not the latter especially when it talks about "affiliated stations" and STELA Specifically states that the superstations do not meet that definition.

Am I mistaken?

Edited by Geronimo, 14 February 2013 - 03:08 PM.

I never cared for all the signatures that insult posters with other points of view.

#15 OFFLINE   dishrich

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:28 PM

If I am not mistaken the authority for distant networks is separate and distinct from the authority for Superstations. This article reds like it applies to the former and not the latter especially when it talks about "affiliated stations" and STELA Specifically states that the superstations do not meet that definition.

Am I mistaken?


You're not, & I have NO idea where in that B&C article, that the OP got ANY word of the "superstations" being mentioned - ONLY distant (network) stations... :confused:

#16 OFFLINE   Geronimo

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:51 PM

You're not, & I have NO idea where in that B&C article, that the OP got ANY word of the "superstations" being mentioned - ONLY distant (network) stations... :confused:


Well he is not exactly the fisrt person to report the pending death of the superstations. IT used to happen quite frequently and I suppose this report could be considered overdue.
I never cared for all the signatures that insult posters with other points of view.

#17 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:00 PM

You're not, & I have NO idea where in that B&C article, that the OP got ANY word of the "superstations" being mentioned - ONLY distant (network) stations... :confused:

Regardless of if it is mentioned in the articles, the right to carry "superstations" under a statutory license expires along with the right to carry "distants". Congress could extend one without extending the other. So far they just keep changing the expiration dates on both types of service.

I agree that the satellite providers have not used significantly viewed as much as I expected ... but they set stations by market and significantly viewed stations don't cover entire adjacent markets. And carriage of a competing station can tick off the in-market stations. As long as it is a choice, satellite providers can choose not to carry them.

That is one of the big differences between cable and satellite carriage law. Where significantly viewed was originally written to FORCE cable providers to carry stations that people watched OTA (the threshold for being significantly viewed set by OTA reception ratings) when Congress applied it to satellite they made it an option. I believe the rules should be the same. If cable is forced to carry/offer carriage to a channel satellite should be forced to carry/offer carriage to the channel.

The next two years of discussion should be interesting. Hopefully we're not waiting for a new bill while the old expires. Get it done in plenty of time.

#18 OFFLINE   Geronimo

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:25 PM

That might be true. But it does not change the fact that article is about distant nets and the NAB has not challenged the carriage of superstations. They need to revisit STELA AS a whole. The article discusses opposition to one provison that requires e authorization. It simply does not discuss the other and the thread has possibly created confusion about what the NAB concerns were.

Edited by Geronimo, 15 February 2013 - 10:53 AM.

I never cared for all the signatures that insult posters with other points of view.

#19 OFFLINE   jsk

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:41 PM

Allow me to not have to pay for locals that I don't need via satellite and can get OTA, while still providing guide data.
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#20 OFFLINE   gregsgoatfarm

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 06:47 AM

Allow me to not have to pay for locals that I don't need via satellite and can get OTA, while still providing guide data.


My wife would never stand for that. She likes being able to record 3 programs simultaneously.

#21 OFFLINE   tampa8

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:53 AM

Well he is not exactly the fisrt person to report the pending death of the superstations. IT used to happen quite frequently and I suppose this report could be considered overdue.


I'm with you, how many times over the years were there reports the Superstations were going to be ended. It's been awhile so I guess it's time to say it again, keep the tradition going.

#22 OFFLINE   kenglish

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:37 AM

My wife would never stand for that. She likes being able to record 3 programs simultaneously.


There are OTA DVR's available.

#23 OFFLINE   cj9788

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:59 PM

Gosh how I miss the days when E* flagrantly disregarded the law and allowed us to subscribe to all four distant network cities. Those were the days my friend. It is all political and those politicians ALWAYS side with the NAB. I love my AAD distants and will enjoy having them while I can. It is only a matter of time before they are legislated into oblivion.

#24 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 01:32 PM

I'm with you, how many times over the years were there reports the Superstations were going to be ended. It's been awhile so I guess it's time to say it again, keep the tradition going.

There is a grain of truth in the reports. The authorization that allows the carriage of superstations expires every five years. If not extended superstations will go away. They are also not a required offering ... the law permits satellite carriers to carry superstations, it does not require the carriage. At some point the business decision may be made to remove superstations from the system.

Personally, I don't mind superstations being on the system but they don't provide any CW programming that I do not already have via a local channel and superstations are not provided in HD. I don't see the benefit in having the feeds. For markets without a CW station they could be helpful ... but DISH also has the special CW feeds (channels 251, 252 and 254 moving to 916, 918 and 919) that could be used in those markets where the network is needed. Having them is doing no harm ... but they would be better in HD.

#25 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 01:47 PM

Gosh how I miss the days when E* flagrantly disregarded the law and allowed us to subscribe to all four distant network cities. Those were the days my friend. It is all political and those politicians ALWAYS side with the NAB. I love my AAD distants and will enjoy having them while I can. It is only a matter of time before they are legislated into oblivion.

Yep ... the good old days when Echostar fought for years in court while breaking the law.

One thing to note about AAD. At the time it was created, DISH leased an entire transponder to AAD for them to use for their service. As it was explained in court documents, NPS was to build their own uplink and take care of their own channels. DISH was to provide the uplink for a few months while NPS got set up.

With that type of setup I would not expect any non-AAD channels on their transponder. They had an advertising channel to promote AAD channels that was open to all ... and eventually started advertising other products on that channel. That channel has become The Pursuit Channel (and is also available via DISH on an Eastern Arc feed).

But now SD channels 164 Fuse, 358 Sundance, 413 Pac-12 and 873 BEIN2 are available to DISH customers (sold by DISH) on the AAD transponder. There are two other DISH channels uplinked on that transponder. It seems the line has been blurred between leasing an entire transponder to AAD for their independent service and transmitting 8 or 9 channels for AAD.

Perhaps DISH is leasing back the space they are using for their six channels - but it strikes me as odd that DISH has channels they sell on a transponder leased to another company.




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