Rep. Gene Green (R-Texas) told an audience of broadcasters that
retransmission consent is a negotiation between businesses, and that's the way
they should stay.
That drew applause from an estimated 500 (NAB's estimate)
broadcasters in Washington for the State Leadership Conference (an annual
appointment to meet and greet FCC officials and Hill types). Although Green was
obviously preaching to the choir on that point, his message went beyond
Both sides need to be reasonable in that negotiation, he
cautioned, pointing out that "your customers are my constituents."
There are several opportunities for the government to step
into the middle of that negotiation, including an open FCC rulemaking on good
faith negotiations, the Media Ownership rulemaking, and the reauthorization of
the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act.
Green drew applause again when he said that upcoming FCC
incentive auctions must be voluntary and that he would "fight to the end
of it" to ensure that was the case.
Participating in the auction is voluntary by statute, but
the repacking and moving of stations after the auctions is not. Some
broadcasters are concerned about how those involuntary moves will affect them.