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Lawmakers lobby on digital must-carry

Small and independent broadcasters have gotten some help from 15 members of Congress, who have asked FCC Chairman Michael Powell to consider an FCC decision that would not require cable operators to carry all the digital TV channels that broadcasters may transmit.

In an April 24 letter to the chairman, Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), Martin Frost (D-Texas), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (F-Fla.), Carrie Meek (D-Fla.), Mark Foley (R-Calif.) and others asked Powell to "reconsider multi-cast must carry." The letter cited Powell's March 29 testimony before the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee, in which Powell said the new rule "will probably have a disproportionate impact" on small, independent, spiritual, Spanish-language and emerging network broadcasters.

Last January, the FCC ruled that cable operators are not obligated to carry every digital channel a TV station may offer. - Paige Albiniak