FCC Sets ALJ Conference on WealthTV Complaint

Oct. 27 pre-hearing conference with administrative law judge will consider carriage complaint against Time Warner Cable

The FCC has set Oct. 27 for a pre-hearing conference on the program carriage complaint by Wealth TV against Time Warner, the FCC said Thursday.

The 9:30 conference will be before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Judge Arthur I. Steinberg. 

Wealth TV filed complaints against various cable operators, and the FCC recently concluded it had made a prima facie case that Time Warner, Comcast, Cox, and Brighthouse had violated the FCC's rules against discriminating against outside vendors in favor of an affiliated network.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin had wanted the FCC to reach a less tentative conclusion of discrimination, but the other commissioners preferred a referral to a judge to hear the facts of the cases.

There will be a half-dozen such hearings before an ALJ for the above-mentioned operators, including four complaints by Wealth TV and one apiece by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) and the NFL Network.

After they reach their decisions—within 60 days of the Oct. 13 referral—the judges make a recommendation to the commissioners, who will ultimately vote on whether to uphold the complaints and how to resolve them.

FCC spokespeople were unavailable for comment on the status of the other complaints vis-à-vis their respective dates with an ALJ.