The Viacom-Time Warner argument is not the only carriage issue to arise at the beginning of 2009. Ion Media and Urban Television wish to create a new over-the-air TV network aimed at minorities, and they are proposing a novel approach of shared licensing.
That they also want the FCC to grant must-carry status to those stations has elicited the opposition of the cable industry.
The two companies’ sole purpose, the NCTA argues, is to get the FCC to declare “that multicast streams on Ion stations are entitled to must-carry status on cable systems – a conclusion the Commission has already rejected a number of times.”
The whole point of Ion’s proposal, the NCTA charges, is to gain the must-carry rights that it can then assign to Urban Television under the novel shared license plan.
The NCTA is urging the FCC to reject the plan out of hand.
Backers of the proposal include Rainbow/PUSH, the NAACP, the Urban League and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters.
Urban Television is run by Robert Johnson, the owner of BET.
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