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TAB presses FCC on effort to repeal exclusivity rules

A TAB delegation of television broadcasters made their case for preserving the FCC’s longstanding syndication exclusivity and network non-duplication rules in a series of meetings Aug. 31 with Commissioners and legal advisors.

Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed repealing the rules, saying in an Aug. 12 blog post that they are outdated and “have been rendered unnecessary by today’s marketplace.”

Suggesting the rules give broadcasters an unfair advantage in retransmission consent negotiations with Pay-TV companies, Wheeler said the FCC should leave the scope of exclusivity to be decided by the parties and likened his proposal to last year’s sports blackout order.

The exclusivity rules provide the basis for broadcast localism, a congressional mandate, and cannot be effectively or efficiently substituted with contractual arrangements, the TAB delegation explained.

Nor can the courts be relied upon to provide relief in disputes that would arise when a Pay-TV company imports a distant signal into a market in an attempt to weaken a local broadcaster’s bargaining power in a retransmission consent dispute.

Read TAB’s ex parte filing summarizing the discussion

Participating in the meetings were:

  • TAB Chairman Roger Bare, KIAH-TV Houston
  • Amie Hudspeth, KAVU-TV Victoria
  • John Kittleman, KRGV-TV Rio Grande Valley
  • Jerry Martin, KPRC-TV Houston
  • Julie Pruett, Nexstar Broadcasting Group
  • John Seabers, WOAI-TV San Antonio
  • Pat Stacey, KLTV/KTRE-TV Tyler-Lufkin
  • John Trevino, KXTX-TV Dallas Fort Worth
  • TAB President Oscar Rodriguez
  • Scott Flick, TAB Counsel – Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Questions? Contact TAB's Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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