Wealth TV has asked the FCC to reopen the investigation into
its carriage complaint against Comcast and other cable operators, while that
company says it is just a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that a
judge has already found the complaint was not supported.
An FCC administrative law judge (ALJ) concluded Wealth TV
had not made its case based on the record before him, though the full FCC has
yet to act on that recommendation.
In a motion to reopen the case filed March 3 with the
commission, a copy of which was supplied to B&C,
Wealth TV says Comcast has actually been carrying Wealth TV on a Princeton, N.J., cable system (Patriot Media
Communications) since it bought the system in 2007, and without any
compensation to WealthTV.
That, says WealthTV lawyers, means that Comcast was not
forthcoming in its arguments before the ALJ that, for reasons of bandwidth
constraints and audience appeal, or lack of if, Comcast did not and would not
carry Wealth TV.
WealthTV argues that due diligence for the hearing should
have alerted Comcast to the fact that it was carrying WealthTV, and that its
"apparent lack of candor" is sufficient to require another hearing to
determine whether Comcast negotiated in good faith.
Comcast dismissed the new complaint and in statement
suggested the FCC ought to do the same. "Having been thoroughly rebuffed,
and their claim rejected at every level, by the Commission's Chief Administrative
Law Judge after a comprehensive hearing and extensive briefing, this filing is
just another desperate attempt by Wealth TV to divert attention from the
well-reasoned decision issued by the ALJ. The plain and simple facts of the
matter are that the decisions made by the cable providers not to carry Wealth
TV were completely justified and appropriate on business grounds and no
violations of the program carriage rules occurred."
A Comcast source on background confirmed that the Patriot system was carrying WealthTV, but said it had asked Wealth if it wanted to deauthorize the carriage and the programmer had not asked them to.
The carriage was continuation of the programming that had been available when Comcast bought the system in 2007. The source added that if Wealth wants to deauthorize it, Comcast will need to give customer 60 days notice.