A group of North Dakota broadcasters has asked the FCC to deny Liberty’s planned takeover of DirecTV.
In a filing at the FCC Friday--comments on the proposed deal were due--the North Dakota Broadcasters Association and specifically the broadcasters in Minot-Bismarck-Dickinson- (market #158 out of 210) said that the deal should not go through unless Liberty promises to carry them.
Currently DirecTV does not carry local stations in the market, but had promised to eventually do so when it first purchased its interest in the satellite operator. Liberty has not made the same promise in its application, they say, and that silence leads them to conclude it will follow what they say is DirecTV’s current plan to use its capacity to boost HD offerings in big cities rather than deliver local stations in smaller markets where it has yet to do so.
Unlike cable operators, satellite companies are not required to deliver local stations, though if they decide to deliver any in a market they must offer them all.