Teamsters Back Broadcasters on Retrans Review

The Teamsters union is putting its muscle behind a broadcaster effort discouraging the FCC from modifying its "totality of circumstances" test for good-faith retransmission-consent negotiations.

In a letter to the FCC this week, Teamsters president James Hoffa said the Teamsters play "integral" roles in TV and move production and that anything, like a change in the test, that could negatively impact the retrans money broadcasters get from MVPDs "could then affect the Teamsters members that produce feature films, television programs and commercials."

Echoing arguments made by broadcasters, Hoffa said most negotiations are successful "without incident," showing that the test works and does not need any modification.

Hoffa said the FCC "should not alter a system which has been working by interfering with the ability of broadcasters to negotiate these agreements.

He said "protecting" the current "totality of circumstances" test, by extension, protects Teamster jobs.

MVPDs argue that the regime is tilted toward broadcasters through must-carry requirements and exclusivity protections and is pushing for bans on retrans blackouts and outside arbitration for impasses, as well as preventing online content withholding.

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.