DTV Divides Religious Flock


Charlotte, N.C.-based Inspiration Networks was in Washington this week lobbying hard against requiring cable to carry all of a broadcaster's multicast digital channels.

Although the network is a member of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), it does not support that group's endorsement of multi-cast must-carry.

NRB is primarily made up of religious broadcast stations, which are afraid cable will not carry them unless the government requires it. Smaller cable nets, on the other hand, fear that mandatory carriage of all those broadcast signals could bump them off cable lineups.

"If broadcasters are given a government guarantee of carriage of all of their signals, it will be very difficult to expand the number of homes that receive INSP and our other networks,” says Inspiration Executive VP, Sales and Marketing, Rod Tapp.

“Our organization has been a long standing member of NRB,” Tapp said, “but we strongly disagree with its support for expanded must carry rights for broadcasters, which will result in restricting and reducing broadcasting of religious programming on a national level.”

Congress is currently deciding new rules of the road for the digital transition, which could include multicast must-carry. The FCC has already declined to grant multicast must-carry, but said Congress was free to weigh in.