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Evidence Still Being Entered At Wealth TV Hearing

The program-carriage complaint of Wealth TV against major cable operators continued Tuesday at a Federal Communications Commission hearing in Washington, but evidence was still being entered through midday and no testimony was expected to be given until late Tuesday or Wednesday.

The hearing is expected to take a couple of weeks given the number of witnesses --20-- and the parties involved, four cable operators and WealthTV owner Herring Broadcasting, represented by -- according to one account -- a total of 17 lawyers.

WealthTV claims Bright House, Comcast, Cox, and Time Warner Cable discriminated against it by not carrying the service, while they did carry a similar channel -- the now defunct Mojo -- in which they had a financial interest. The MSOs maintain the issue was the cost of the channel versus its value, and that it was business decision, not discrimination, that kept it off their lineups.

Monday was all about submitting documents, according to a source with one of the parties. About half of WealthTV's exhibits were not accepted due to rules against hearsay.

One thing that might have been holding up the start of witness testimony Tuesday is that the cable operators challenged the testimony of Charles Herring, who was having to rewrite and re-submit what another source said was a lengthy document.

According to a source monitoring the court comings and goings, at one point Media Bureau chief Monica Desai paid a visit to the hearing. An attorney with the Enforcement Bureau has been a regular fixture.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.