Regulators Tuesday asked for public comment on a allegations of abuse filed more than 600 affiliates against the Big Four networks.
The Network-Affiliated Stations Alliance in March asked the FCC to investigate alleged tactics by the nets such as using their market power to illegally strip programming decisions from local affiliates, manipulate station sales and seize control of their digital capacity. NASA is seeking a declaratory ruling that would force the nets to stop misbehaving and asking the FCC to decide whether new rules are needed to prevent the networks from getting too much power over affiliates' operations.
Representatives of the affiliates were heartened that the FCC is launching a full examination of the allegations. "NASA is pleased that the FCC will give serious consideration to the important issues raised in the petition," said Alan Frank, NASA chairman and president of Post-Newsweek Stations.
The networks have asked the FCC to dismiss the petition, and representatives from the networks were slated to meet with lawmakers Wednesday on Capitol Hill to make their case. Comments are due July 23; replies August 22. - Bill McConnell