Follow the bouncing NASA petition.
Word is that the National Affiliated Stations Alliance's long-standing list of complaints against the networks has been sent back down to the Federal Communications Commission's Media Bureau for redrafting.
The FCC had recently put the petition on the fast track after years of inaction. The move was in part a response to congressional pressure after affiliates told legislators during indecency hearings in Washington earlier this year that they did not have enough control over their own content because of network strong-arming in affiliate contracts.
The affiliates' main complaint is that past network contracts have stripped them of their ability to preempt programs they believe are inappropriate for their communities or when a local program would serve the community better. NBC and ABC recently penned agreements that satisfy most of NASA's concerns. CBS made peace with the affiliates two years ago. Fox has made progress too but affiliates complain the network continues to insist they keep non-prime time slots open for network shows but hasn't spelled out what the shows would be.
The Media Bureau had sent its recommendations to the commissioners for action a couple of weeks ago, but a flurry of new information from both sides included enough new changes--many, though not all, of the complaints had been resolved between the affiliates and networks--that the bureau basically took it back to work on it some more.
No word on when it will be back again, though one agency source said not to look for it in the next few weeks. “Let’s just hope its not another two years,” the source added.