FCC Considers Easing DMA Changes For Stations

With the caveat that the item could change or be pulled before Thursday's open meeting , FCC chairman Kevin Martin is proposing to make it easier for stations to change their Designated Market Area (DMA) for purposes  of cable and satellite carriage.

For example, a DMA in one state could include a portion of another, which some in Congress have pointed out to the FCC, means that viewers could be getting out-of-state "local" news and information that doesn't necessarily apply to them. Making sure that viewers have access to local stations with the relevant political and emergency information is apparently the  impetus to the proposed change.

The proposal is scheduled for consideration at the May 31 meeting,  and it would also extend the same, more streamlined, process to satellite carriage of stations.

Stations already have the ability to request a change in DMA, but this would make the process easier for both cable and satellite.

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.