NASA to FCC: Stop net squeeze plays

Don't fine the networks, just make them stop squeezing affiliates, said the group of TV operators that asked the government to investigate business practices between the nets and the stations that contract to run their programming.

Also, the FCC should open the books on its investigation of networks' alleged violations of rules governing relations with affiliates, said the group. In a letter to the FCC Wednesday, the Network Affiliated Stations Alliance said the agency's decision to conduct a confidential review, as if fines and sanctions against the networks might be warranted, is misguided. "The object of the petition is to clarify what the rules of road are in respect to issues that fundamentally affect the operation of local network affiliated stations," NASA said in its letter.

In March, NASA charged that the networks are violating FCC rules by restricting affiliates' ability to reject programming, demanding access to a station's multiple digital channels without specifying what programming would be carried and interfering with station sales. - Bill McConnell