Multicasting Gets God and Country

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A handful of groups and one-dozen or so Republican legislators have joined broadcasters' call for either full digital-multicast carriage or a delay in a Federal Communications Commission Feb. 10 vote that many now think will go against them.

NAB now has God and country on its side. The National Religious Broadcasters weighed in this week against a DTV decision Feb. 10, now the corn Growers have written the FCC asking that it delay its decision. the Corn Growers were joined by the Communications workers of America and The National Consumer League. All are part of the Coalition for a Smart Digital TV Transition.

Why do corn growers care? the sort of hyper-local weather and market information important to rural communities. "Commodities information is mothers milk" to his constituents, says American corn Growers Association CEO Larry Mitchell. Besides, he buys into the argument that the existing local broadcasting is threatened if it does not get full cable and satellite carriage of all its multicast variations.

"Urban America is already homogenized," he says, extending the milk metaphor. "rural America still has spice, and part of that spice is local broadcasting." soy Bean Growers are also on board for multicasting, says Mitchell.

The Senators, in a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell dated Feb. 1, simply restated their support for giving broadcasters full digital multicast carriage. Signatories, primarily from rural states, included Senator Trent Lott (Miss.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Olympia Snowe (Me.), and Tom Osbourne (Neb.)