Station to Station

SHVERA/Ross Bill Heat Up in DC

6/15/2009 01:36:35 PM

The SHVERA issue and market modification matters related to Congressman Mike Ross’s proposed bill are really heating up in Washington. A few dozen leaders from the Fox affiliates community are in Washington later this week to plead their case–that making it easier for cable and satellite to import out of market signals into a given market–will be a crushing blow for broadcasting.

Fox affiliates board chairman John Tupper said such legislation could cost broadcasters in excess of $700 million a year–a whopping sum in any economy, moreso a miserable one.

As it is, Ross’s bill would affect 12.6 million households and mean some $650 million in lost ad revenue each year, Tupper said, along with another $60 million to $70 million in retrans cash. Such hardship could “reduce broadcasters’ ability to provide viewers with the level of service they’re currently getting.”

Several broadcasters say the chance that stations could scrap news departments–or go out of biz altogether–is a possible consequence of the legislation.

The SHVERA bill is up for renewal every five years and has to pass. My colleague Eggerton says a current version of it from House Communications Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher, looks favorable to broadcasters.

For his part, American Cable Association boss Matt Polka said he isn’t buying that figure.

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