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Sources: Senate Commerce Eyeing July Retrans Hearing

According to sources, the Senate Commerce Committee is
looking at holding a hearing in late July on retransmission consent and thesweeping communications deregulation bill backed by Senator James DeMint (R-S.C.)

A committee spokesperson was checking at press time, but had
no comment.

The bill is unlikely to go anywhere in the Senate as currently
constituted, but DeMint is in line to be ranking member and perhaps chairman
and some cable and satellite companies are said to have pushed for a hearing.

That bill is aimed at clearing out "decades-old"
regs DeMint says represent the government inappropriately picking winners and

The bill would:

  • Repeal those provisions of the Communications Act that
    mandate the carriage and purchase of certain broadcast signals by cable
    operators, satellite providers, and their customers.
  • Repeal the Communications Act's "retransmission
    consent" provisions and the Copyright Act's "compulsory license"
    provisions, thereby allowing negotiations for the carriage of broadcast
    stations to take place in the same deregulated environment as negotiations for
    carriage of non-broadcast channels such as Discovery, Food Network, and AMC.
  • Repeal ownership limitations imposed on local media
    operators, allowing businesses to evolve and adapt to today's dynamic
    communications market.