Herring Wants ALJ's Wealth TV Recommendation Rejected

How did a Federal Communications Commission administrative law judge come to the wrong conclusion about Wealth TV? Let the cable network's parent Herring Broadcasting count the ways.

In a filing at the FCC asking it to reject the judge's recommendation last month that the FCC find in favor of cable operators and against Herring, the company said there were "substantial errors" that required the recommended decision not be adopted.

Herring said the ALJ had "arbitrarily and erroneously" disregarded a Media Bureau finding that WealthTV had made a "prima facie" showing of discrimination by a quartet of cable operators  -- Time Warner Calbe, Bright House Networks, Cox Communications and Comcast. From the outset, the ALJ -- actually an earlier ALJ., who retired before the complaint could be heard -- concluded that the trial would be de novo, meaning the court would start afresh and the Media Bureau finding would carry no evidenciary weight.

Herring said the judge ignored substantial evidence of discrimination, excluded evidence and testimony that should have been included, improperly denied a subpoena request, and demonstrated "an improper bias against WealthTV."

The ALJ finding is a recommendation to the commission, which will have the final say on that and one more program carriage complaint, filed by Mid-Atlantic Sports Network against Comcast. A third complaint, by the NFL Network against Comcast, was settled.

Herring wants the decision reversed, the complaint sustained, and carriage for WealthTV on the same systems the cable operators carried the former Mojo network.

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.