Judiciary Version Of STELA Set For June 19 Markup

The Senate Judiciary Committee is not wasting any time marking up its "clean" version of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA).

It has set June 19 as the date for the markup hearing. That markup will be an opportunity for senators to add amendments.

The Senate bill (S. 2454) was introduced this week as essentially a straight, five-year, reauthorization of the law, which expires at the end of the year unless it is renewed.

STELA renews the compulsory license that allows satellite operators to deliver distant network TV station signals to viewers who can't get local versions over the air and renews the FCC's authority to enforce good faith retransmission consent negotiations.

Cable ops want Congress to address retrans reforms in STELA, and were successful in getting some of what they wanted in a House version that passed the Energy & Commerce Committee, including preventing coordinated retrans among co-owned stations in a market. Broadcasters would like to see that version stripped down to match the Senate version, but if past is prologue, the final bill will probably not be two pages long.

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.