[opendtv] Re: News: FCC's Martin Floats Leased Multicast Must-Carry Proposal

  • From: "John Willkie" <johnwillkie@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2007 21:08:15 -0800

I'm coming in late on this, and I should point out that this is just a new
instance of bad regulations promulgated by the Martin Commission.

> 1. Would the licensed stations be required to give the FCC 5% of the
> lease proceeds, under the DTV rules that require such payments for
> other services.

No, not as long as they engaged in broadcasting, and derived their revenues
from commercial messages or fund-raising spots.  Much law on this point.
> 2. Would the media conglomerates figure out a way to use this
> back-door to create new networks with affiliation agreements for
> small and independent businesses?

You need to look into the 'attributable interest' part of the FCC's
broadcast ownership regulations, which were directly derived from the old
interstate Commerce Commission's 'interlocking directorships' and ownership
of railroads.  (The ICC had a hand in radio regulations before the FCC was

The rules are quite rigid about what is an attributable interest; including
directorships and equity investment (shares.)

About the only way that it could be done and not be an attributable
ownership interest is via a loan or other debenture.  However, that isn't a
real method, since your only option after the initial entrant defaulted, you
would need to find another fool to take over, and they could have no
attributable interest.

Of course, there are people who think -- illogically -- that the Chinese
control the United States due to the large holdings the Chinese government
has in U.S. Treasury debt.  Kinda hard to understand how they would want to
wage war on the U.S., since the debt then wouldn't be repaid ...

However, this proposal is just begging for work-arounds.  It's a half-step;
he can't get the current commission to do full must-carry, so he wants to do
something, something that will be bad.

John Willkie

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