EchoStar Wins Again

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EchoStar Communications Corp. won at least one carriage victory Tuesday.

The Federal Communications Commission dismissed, without prejudice, a complaint against the satellite carrier by a digital-only station, WMCN Atlantic City, N.J., saying the satellite company was not required to carry it.

The station, which was dropped by EchoStar last year, had argued that since it had been carried by Echostar in analog as part of the carry one/carry all regimen established by the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act, it should still have that right as a digital-only station.

The FCC Media Bureau declined to rule one way or the other, saying that since the FCC had not yet established rules for satellite carriage of stations' digital signals, the bureau had no basis to act on the complaint.
It was the second such victory for the satellite company. The bureau earlier refused to rule on a similar complaint by WHDT-DT Stuart, Fla., a digital start-up that had won cable carriage and was seeking carriage from EchoStar.

The bureau did advise WMCN parent Lenfest Broadcasting to re-file the complaint once such rules are established.

Cable systems, by contrast, are required to carry the signal of a digital-only station.

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