IBEW President Backs Broadcasters On Retrans

The President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has prepared a letter to the Hill asking Congress not to undermine retransmission consent.

In the letter, IBEW International President Edwin Hill slammed pay TV providers and the alliance they formed to reduce broadcaster leverage (the American Television Alliance). "Legislative efforts that undermine retransmission consent would have a negative impact on the livelihoods of IBEW members in the broadcasting industry."

Hill is particularly unhappy with one MVPD proposal, standstills on existing contracts during impasses, which would prevent blackouts.

Hill called that a contract that would never end, regardless of outdated terms or conditions. "Applied to collective bargaining, a contract like this would be unacceptable to IBEW members," he said. "For our employers in the broadcasting industry, such a contract is an unnecessary restraint of trade."

Hill said that broadcasters are only getting the compensation "commensurate with their significant financial investment in content and rise in viewership" after years during which pay TV providers weren't willing to pony up that compensation.

That "commensurate" compensation translates into reinvestment in local and national content, which helps IBEW members.

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.