Wheeler: FCC Will Respond to Broadcaster Repacking Concerns

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said he has heard and will respond to concerns from Sinclair and other broadcasters about repacking issues after the incentive auctions.

In a letter to the FCC, Sinclair raised numerous issues about the time it would take to repack and the costs.

"We had a meeting with broadcasters yesterday in a group and repacking is clearly one of the issues that they are sensitive to," he said in a press conference Wednesday. "We are sensitive to it as well, and we are going to address their issues."

But Wheeler had no comment on another issue broadcasters are clearly sensitive to: The Aereo case, which was the subject of oral argument in the Supreme Court this week. Wheeler said it was "not something we concern ourselves with." The case involves a copyright infringement suit by broadcasters against the service, which provides access to TV station signals over the Internet.

Wheeler was also reticent about the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal. Asked to weigh in on its public interest benefits and whether he would pursue merger conditions that could be de facto rules. He said he had a two part response: "I'm not going to respond to Comcast merger questions. Second part: I'm not going to further respond to Comcast merger questions."

Wheeler has consistently declined opportunities to handicap the deal, and is even more likely to do so now that it has been filed with the commission.

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.