NAB will 'defend its terrority' from EchoStar


The National Association of Broadcasters Wednesday scorned EchoStar
Communications Corp.'s plan to appeal various rulings that are favorable to
local broadcasters.

'It is inconceivable that EchoStar professes support
for local-station carriage, while at the same time attempting to
undercut the U.S. system of broadcasting,' NAB president Eddie Fritts said in a prepared

'The NAB will vigorously defend the territorial integrity of all free, local
television stations, and we fully expect the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the
EchoStar appeal,' he added. 

EchoStar has two appeals pending before the Supreme Court.

One asks the court to rule that satellite-TV companies do not have to carry
every local TV station in every market they serve, as the law requires, and
instead can choose to carry only local TV stations with 'meaningful local
content,' as determined by EchoStar.

The other case -- which EchoStar announced Tuesday that it would appeal -- asks the
Supreme Court to rule that it is unconstitutional to keep satellite-TV companies
from offering local TV signals in other markets.

Overall, EchoStar would like the Supreme Court to rule that EchoStar can
offer its customers their choice of broadcast signals, no matter where the
signal originates.

The NAB is vigorously opposing EchoStar's proposed $26 billion merger with Hughes Electronics Corp.
and subsidiary DirecTV Inc.

EchoStar is trying to woo local broadcasters into signing carriage deals with
the company, and in a letter, it invited broadcasters to meet with the company at
next week's NAB show.

Should its merger be approved, EchoStar and DirecTV have
promised to offer local TV signals in all 210 TV markets, although the merged
company would prefer to pick and choose those stations, rather than be obligated
to give satellite space to every TV station in the country.