NBC, CBS Stations Challenge Entravision

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The heads of the CBS and NBC affiliate associations have written the Federal Communications Commission telling it that Spanish-language broadcaster Entravision Communications Corp. was way off base when the station-group owner urged the commission not to adopt multicasting must-carry -- a position contrary to that of most broadcasters, including the two associations.

They also argued that the FCC ruling will likely be challenged in court no matter which way the decision comes down.

Entravision is afraid that if the FCC extends must-carry to broadcasters' digital multicast channels as well as the digital version of their primary analog signal, the courts could throw out must-carry entirely, thereby disadvantaging smaller groups, like Entravision, who do not have the muscle to get carriage on their own.

"We believe Entravision's position is back-ward looking and contrary to its own self interest," they argued. "Rather than jeopardizing the future of smaller and independent stations," wrote Bob Lee (CBS) and Terry Mackin (NBC), "multicasting opens promising opportunities for them to enhance the services they provide to their viewers," as well as "generate additional revenue streams."

The pair also say Entravision's premise is faulty if it is based on the assumption that DTV must-carry rules will be challenged only if the commission adopts multicast must-carry. "There is equally likely to be a court challenge if the commission does not adopt a multicast must-carry requirement," they say.

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