Senate Commerce Committee Not Looking to Make Retrans Consent Part of SHVERA

Committee's senior legal counsel says issue will get more attention if broadcasters decide to pull their signals

Filed at 4:00 p.m. EST on Mar. 31, 2009

The Senate Commerce Committee is not looking to make retransmission consent reform part of the review of the Satellite Home Viewer Extention and Reathorization Act (SHVERA).

That's according to Jessica Rosenworcel, senior legal counsel to the committee. But she cautioned broadcasters about those negotiations.

"If you are in the course of retransmission consent negotiations and a significant number of broadcasters decide to pull their signals," she told a crowd of broadcasters Tuesday. "it will heighten the level of attention this issue gets on Capitol Hill if viewers are caught in the crossfire of [disagreements] that may be very legitimate that broadcasters are having with video programming providers."

She was speaking to a National Association of Broadcasters State Leadership Conference in Washington.

Brian Hendricks, legislative counsel to ranking Committee Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), agreed that the fewer examples there are of "those kinds of disputes happening," the less chance there is of Congress stepping in.

At the same conference, House Communications, Technology & Internet Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher said he, too, had no plans to include retransmission consent reform in his consideration of reauthorizing SHVERA.