Office of Management and Budget: Satellite Market Modification Good to Go

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved—for at least three years—new paperwork requirements for satellite TV market modifications, meaning the FCC's new rules are good to go, according to the Federal Register.

In September 2015, the FCC released its order implementing satellite TV market modification rules, which were adopted to implement the STELAR Act provision extending the market modification regime for cable to satellite operators.

The new rules mirror those for cable operators, who can already import significantly viewed stations that may have been gerrymandered out of local markets due to DMAs that cross state lines. The issue was a hot-button one with legislators with football fan constituents denied the games of their local football team, for example.

The FCC is now empowered to modify satellite markets, as defined by Nielsen DMAs, to promote access to in-state programming or other relevant content by either adding or deleting communities.

OMB had to vet the new paperwork requirements per the Paperwork Reduction Act. Commercial TV broadcast stations, cable system operators, satellite carriers and county governments all are eligible to file modification requests and are required to include in those filings specific evidence to support the requests. Then the satellite carrier must file supporting evidence if it wishes to deny the request—the rules allow for exceptions where it is not technically feasible given that satellite operators need precisely tuned spot beams to deliver local service.

All that paperwork meant OMB needed to sign off, which it has.

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.