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TAB supports televising legislative proceedings

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, and nearly 100 other House colleagues this week called on pay-TV providers to televise legislative proceedings.

View Castro's letter

TAB President Ann Arnold today responded to Castro's letter. Her response follows.

Dear Rep. Castro:

Thank you for sending me a copy of your joint letter to the pay-TV providers regarding televising the Legislature's proceedings.

The Texas Association of Broadcasters represents 357 free, over-the-air broadcast television stations throughout Texas, including commercial, non-commercial, full-power and low-power operations.  In addition, we represent 958 broadcast radio stations throughout the state.

We do not represent AT&T, cable, satellite or other pay-TV providers.

Texas broadcasters have long advocated for and supported any effort by the Legislature to televise the deliberations in the House and Senate chambers, committee rooms and press conference rooms so citizens throughout Texas can have access to how government operates.

As a result of the Digital TV Transition, broadcast television stations will have additional broadcast channels within the spectrum allocated to them by the federal government.  I fully expect many would be interested in airing legislative deliberations.

With more than 1.7 million Texas households watching television exclusively over-the-air (meaning they do not have any pay-TV service through cable, satellite or telephony), it is of paramount importance that the legislative proceedings be available at no charge to any broadcaster or multi-video program distributor that is interested in carrying this programming.

Accordingly, the Legislature would be well advised to invest in a satellite distribution system paid for by the State that would ensure that any retransmission is accessible, of broadcast quality and managed in such a manner that ensures the absence of any restraint on what deliberations or events are aired.

And since anyone receiving cable or satellite TV pays for the service you might also want to consider offering the program to pay-TV providers only with the agreement that the legislative proceedings be available in the least expensive package or tier of programming.

The Texas Association of Broadcasters is ready and able to work with you and your colleagues to plan and execute this system.


Ann Arnold

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