Broadcasters have until June 17 to notify their local cable operator whether they will seek retransmission consent rights or must-carry protection, the Federal Communications Commission said this week.The retrans/must-carry option was granted to broadcasters by Congress as part of the massive cable reregulation bill passed last year. Many broadcasters electing retransmission consent hope they will be able to negotiate cash out of the local cable operator for carriage of the local TV signal. It’s expected that small and independent stations will take the must-carry option, which forces cable operators to continue carrying the station on a channel selected by the broadcaster. The constitutionality of both the retransmission consent and must-carry provisions of the cable law are being challenged in court by the cable industry. A court decision is expected soon.
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