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FCC combos carriage spats, sends them to judge

Mon, 10/13/2008 - 8:30am
Brian Santo

The FCC has determined that complaints from various programmers about a lack of carriage by MSOs are valid enough to be formally adjudicated. Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications and Bright House will now have to justify decisions to not carry a variety of programming to an Administrative Law Judge.

The FCC is aggregating a group of complainants that includes the National Football League Network (NFLN), the Mid Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), and WealthTV. The complaints are diverse, though they all come under the heading of carriage. Not all charges involve all of the four MSOs.

The MSOs have been fending off these accusations all along. The FCC’s Media Bureau decided, however, there is adequate evidence to suggest the cable operators discriminated against the programmers.

The FCC issued an order that requires the judge to return recommended decisions to the Commission within 60 days.

“WealthTV is extremely gratified that the Media Bureau of the FCC has agreed that there is sufficient evidence of prima facie violations of the law against discrimination by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House and Cox for WealthTV to move forward with its cases against these cable companies,” said Robert Herring, Sr., chief executive officer and co-founder of WealthTV.

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