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NAB to FCC: Broadcasters Should Determine Channel-Sharing Terms

The National Association of Broadcasters is all for the FCC's proposal to allow channel sharing by stations outside the incentive auction, but does not think the FCC should apply different rules from those for channel-sharers in the auction.

That came in comments Thursday on the FCC's incentive auction channel sharing proposal. The comments were due the same day the FCC had rescheduled a webinar on sharing for interested stations and others.

NAB told the commission that it should allow for flexible sharing rules, particularly allowing stations to define the terms of their agreements rather than set a mandatory minimum. The FCC had proposed allowing that flexibility, but also asked if it should set a minimum term, say three years, to minimize viewer disruption.

NAB said no.

It also said that if stations free up a channel by sharing post auction, that should remain a TV channel, particularly given that it could be needed when TV broadcasters transition to a new ATSC transmission standard.

Not surprisingly, NAB said each channel sharing partner should retain their carriage rights in post-auction agreements, just as they will if they give up a channel for auction.