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NASA Seeks FCC Stamp on Deals

The networks have it wrong when they say there’s no reason for the Federal Communications Commission to clarify its existing network/affiliate rules, attorneys for the affiliates insisted.

Even though each affiliate group and its respective Big Four network have resolved contractual disputes over preemption rights and other issues, the FCC should weigh in to give permanence to the agreements, attorneys for the Network Affiliated Stations Alliance told the FCC Tuesday.

“Private negotiations absent FCC clarification of the meaning of its network/affiliate rules are insufficient to avoid similar disputes in the future,” said NASA.

NASA four years ago asked the FCC to resolve disputes over issues such as preemption and affiliates’ right to reject network programming.

Stations sometimes want to air programming more suitable to the local community than a particular network show at that time. Affiliates also want clear authority to reject programs they deem inappropriate for their communities.

That ability became a marquee issue during congressional hearings on indecency last year.

The networks on Feb. 24 reiterated their longstanding request for the FCC to dismiss NASA's petition.