NAB Slams Cable Programmers Over Carriage Suit

The National Association of Broadcasters took aim at C-SPAN, Discovery Communications and others for filing suit against the Federal Communications Commission's new "viewability" order requiring cable operators to carry must-carry TV stations in analog and digital if necessary to give all of their customers viewable signals after the transition to digital.

"Today's lawsuit by a handful of self-serving pay TV programmers represents yet another attempt by cable interests to block a successful digital-television transition," NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton said. "By reneging on the NCTA [National Cable & Telecommunications Association] commitment to preserve cable carriage of local broadcast stations to all cable customers after February 2009, these programmers threaten to block consumer access to scores of foreign-language and religious TV stations all over America."

C-SPAN, Discovery and four other cable programmers sued the FCC over the decision, saying that the commission over stepped its authority and, even if it hadn't, that the decision violated their rights.

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.