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FCC Settles EchoStar-Ark. Station Dispute

KYPX(TV) can’t force EchoStar Communications Corp. to make room for a satellite-dish antenna the company plans for delivering its signal to the direct-broadcast satellite provider’s Little Rock, Ark., facility, the Federal Communications Commission said Monday.

As part of its plan to offer local TV channels in the market, EchoStar agreed to accept a satellite signal from KYPX after measurements demonstrated the station’s over-the-air signal was inadequate for adding to the DBS provider’s system. The satellite provider insisted it had no room for the 4-foot-by-6-foot dish at the local receiver facility space it leases in Little Rock from Clear Channel.

Consequently, EchoStar demanded that the station itself lease the space from Clear Channel. KYPX argued that commission precedent required EchoStar to find space for the station. The FCC found, however, that a previous case where DirecTV was required to make room for a broadcaster, the equipment necessary weighed only two pounds and was accommodated within existing space. Broadcasters must provide a good quality signal to DBS and cable operators in order to exercise their must-carry rights.