Latino Clergy Won’t Bless Martin’s Proposals

National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders Opposes FCC Chairman’s Push for Cable a la Carte, Lowering Leased-Access Rates

Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin got some pushback from Latino clergy members on his push for cable a la carte and lowering leased-access rates.

Martin has pitched both as helping minority programmers, but the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, which claims to represent 16,000 churches in 32 states, said Martin's leased-access plan will "limit the number of TV channels available for networks owned by minorities."

Martin instead has argued that making leased cable time more affordable will make it easier for niche programmers to afford to get on cable systems.

"Increasing minority-owned media outlets should be the FCC's top priority," said coalition president Rev. Miguel Rivera. "Instead, this chairman has proven, time and time again, that his interests lie elsewhere. Chairman Martin's obsession with decimating minority cable-station ownership through a la carte pricing laws has been followed by a series of attempts to practically give away cable-channel capacity to home shopping networks and other entities rather than making it available to emerging Hispanic-owned networks."

Borrowing a phrase used by FCC Democratic commissioner Jonathan Adelstein about another Martin proposal to help minorities -- leasing digital-TV spectrum -- Rivera urged the other commissioners to vote down the latest “media-sharecropping” proposal.