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The Word Network Aims FCC, FTC Complaints at Comcast

The Word Network has filed complaints against Comcast at the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission over Comcast's reduction of its carriage, a representative for the network confirms. Word Network wants the FCC and the FTC to investigate "[t]he unjust removal of The Word Network," as well as diversity and retrans-related issues.

The Word Network is a religious network targeted to African Americans. In a press release announcing the complaints, the network said after it contacted Comcast about the carriage reduction and asked the reason, it was told "because we are Comcast, and we can."

Comcast executives speaking on background said that was not accurate.

“We continuously evaluate the content we deliver to our customers," Comcast said in a statement. "As part of this ongoing process, we determined that The Impact Network provides a broader array of programming than The Word Network, which led us to our decision to increase Impact’s distribution. We are also continuing to carry The Word Network to millions of our customers in the Midwest and South based on its appeal in those regions.”

The execs, who had not yet seen the complaints, said that 1) Impact was minority-owned, while The Word is not; 2) The Word Network's content is largely ministries, with many ministers also appearing on other networks; and 3) Impact has family programming, financial planning, and entertainment programming, and that, looking at both, they made a business decision to reduce The Word Network's carriage and increase Impact's distribution.

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.