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Sen. Wicker Schedules Markup for STELAR Reauthorization

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, is wasting no time in marking up his bill, S. 2789, Satellite Television Access Reauthorization (STAR) Act reauthorizing the satellite compulsory license.

Just as well since the license expires at the end of the year unless renewed.

Wicker has scheduled that markup--where a bill can be amended then voted out of committee--for Nov. 13, just one of a whopping 27 bills scheduled for that executive session.

STAR would essentially revise the current STELAR law by simply extending it another five years. The law expires every five years, so that is about as small a change as could be made, though, if past is prologue, that is just the bare tree upon which ornaments in the form of amendments are likely to be hung, or at least attempts made.

Broadcasters want the law to go away, but cable ops want changes to the retransmission consent system they say is broken. With so little time left in the session, major changes are unlikely, as is a vote to eliminate the license altogether. 

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.