WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to STELAR legislation (“Satellite Television Community Protection and Promotion Act of 2019”) circulated today by House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the following statement can be attributed to NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith:
“While NAB continues to believe STELAR’s reauthorization is unnecessary, we support Chairman Nadler’s thoughtful narrowly-tailored approach that benefits viewers by better ensuring satellite carriage of their local broadcast stations. We’re particularly pleased that Chairman Nadler’s bill rights a wrong inflicted upon tens of thousands of DirecTV viewers in 12 rural markets who have been denied access to local TV programming for years.
“We’re optimistic that under the Nadler bill, DirecTV will finally fulfill its decade-old pledge to carry local television stations to those viewers, rather than piping in programming from New York City or Los Angeles.
“NAB looks forward to working with Chairman Nadler, ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA), and other House Judiciary Committee members as this bill is considered this week.”
The key provision of the Nadler bill:
Alpena, Michigan Bowling Green, Kentucky Casper-Riverton, Wyoming Cheyenne, Wyoming/Scottsbluff, Nebraska Grand Junction, Colorado Helena, Montana North Platte, Nebraska Ottumwa, Iowa/Kirksville, Missouri Presque Isle, Maine San Angelo, Texas Victoria, Texas Glendive, Montana
A full section-by-section of the bill can be found here.
For background, the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) Act contains a key component that allows satellite TV providers to pipe in distant broadcast TV network programming from an ABC, CBS, NBC or FOX affiliate from New York or Los Angeles into a local TV market rather than the local TV stations serving that community. The provision was originally intended 30 years ago to allow the nascent satellite TV industry to better compete with cable companies and overcome technological limitations but has been reauthorized every five years. Currently, STELAR is scheduled to expire at the end of 2019.
Today, DISH carries all the local TV stations in all 210 TV markets in America after a 2006 court case found the company was illegally importing distant network programming into households that should have been receiving their local broadcast stations. DirecTV promised in 2003 to carry all local TV stations in every DMA, but currently has 12 markets where it refuses to carry local TV stations.
The U.S. Copyright Office previously submitted a letter to the leadership of the House Judiciary Committee recommending that the license allowing AT&T/DIRECTV and DISH to import distant broadcast TV network programming into "neglected markets" be allowed to expire. Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple has testified before the House Judiciary Committee and Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property recommending the license's expiration.
Members of Congress who have previously submitting letters supporting the expiration of STELAR include:
Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX) - House Energy & Commerce Committee, House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME-2) Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA-2) Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Jon Tester (D-MT) Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
In addition, in response to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the four major broadcast networks committed to providing a short-term carriage license as satellite providers transition to offering local broadcast signals in every market upon STELAR's expiration.About NAB