This 1996 Circuit Court opinion upholds a provision of the 1992 Cable Act that mandates noncommercial educational or informational programming on 4-7 percent of Direct Broadcast Satellite operators' channel capacity (DBS provision). The law was not challenged by DBS operators but by Time Warner, which opposed many provisions of the Cable Act. The decision was a major victory for public TV, which had tried for years to obtain reserved channels in the new media that would be comparable to the FM and TV channel reservations of earlier decades. (Current coverage: appeal verdict, FCC rules.)
United States Court of Appeals
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT
Argued November 20, 1995; Decided August 30, 1996
TIME WARNER ENTERTAINMENT CO., L.P., APPELLANT/PETITIONER
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEES/RESPONDENTS
ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA'S PUBLIC TELEVISION STATIONS, ET AL., INTERVENORS
Before the Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of Deletion of Noncommercial Reservation of Channel *16, 482-488 MHz, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Adopted: July 24, 1996
Released: August 1, 1996By the Commission: Commissioner Ness issuing a statement; Commissioner Chong concurring and issuing a statement in which Commissioner Quello joins. 1. The Commission has before it for consideration a "Petition to Delete Noncommercial Reservation" filed on June 24, 1996 by WQED Pittsburgh (WQED or the Company), licensee of noncommercial educational television stations WQED(TV), Channel *13 and WQEX(TV), Channel *16, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. WQED requests that its Channel *16 allotment be dereserved in order to permit commercial broadcasting on Channel 16 in Pittsburgh, and that it be permitted to assign WQEX(TV) to a commercial licensee and use the net proceeds to further WQED(TV)'s noncommercial broadcast operation. WQED's petition is filed pursuant to the Department of Justice and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 1996, Pub.
If public broadcasting loses its federal aid, it's "highly unlikely'' that it will recover the same amounts by increasing revenues from product licensing, individual contributors or local and state governments, an economics consulting firm reported back to CPB last week. Moreover, "the nature of public broadcasting will inevitably change'' if the field loses its federal assistance, according to National Economic Research Associates, a White Plains, N.Y., firm that presented conclusions of its CPB-commissioned study to the CPB Board on March 14. Steven Schwartz, v.p. of NERA, also estimated that public broadcasting has a value of $2.8 billion to $4.3 billion to the American public--far more than the $1.8 billion from all sources that are spent on it, or the $285 million that Congress appropriated for this year. The study responded to remarks by public broadcasting's opponents on the CPB funding issue, who contend that the field could easily replace the federal aid. No easy options
Revenues from product licensing are "too small and uncertain to be relied upon,'' Schwartz told the CPB Board.
Three polls taken last month gave majorities of 62 to 84 percent favoring CPB's federal funding. Then, a few days later, comes one showing the public 63 percent okaying cutbacks. Why such a flip-flop? "Question wording can move poll results very drastically,'' replies John Brennan, polling director at the Los Angeles Times, which published the fourth poll. In the first three polls, the questions about CPB appropriations simply asked whether the funding should be continued or eliminated or, in the case of PBS's own commissioned poll, whether it should be increased, maintained or decreased.
These are the recommendations of the Twentieth Century Fund Task Force on Public Television, released in the July 1993 report Quality Time? The complete 188-page paperback, including a background paper by Richard Somerset-Ward, published by the Twentieth Century Fund Press, has been available for $9.95 through the Brookings Institution (1-800-275-1447). See also [Current coverage, Aug. 9, 1993.]
The mission of public television should be the enrichment and strengthening of American society and culture through high-quality programming that reflects and advances our basic values. In order to fulfill its mission, America's system of public television needs fundamental structural change.
These are the recommendations of the Twentieth Century Fund Task Force on Public Television, released in the July 1993 report Quality Time? The complete 188-page paperback, including a background paper by Richard Somerset-Ward, published by the Twentieth Century Fund Press, is available for $9.95 through the Brookings Institution (1-800-275-1447). See also [Current coverage and list of task force members, Aug. 9, 1993. On mission
The mission of public television should be the enrichment and strengthening of American society and culture through high-quality programming that reflects and advances our basic values.
CPB from its start had always had responsibility for ensuring "objectivity and balance" in programming that it funded, but on June 2, 1992, the U.S. Senate amended the House bill that included CPB's reauthorization (H.R. 2977) to add related responsibilities. Amendments were accepted by the House and signed by the President in August. Text below is from the act as signed by the President. Objectivity and Balance Policy, Procedures and Report
Following up on 1988 legislation that they had lobbied for, independent producers and their advocates incorporated ITVS in 1969 [see Articles of Incorporation] and it began operations in 1991. ARTICLE I
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
1. Function and Definitions. The affairs of the corporation shall be managed by the Board of Directors. The use of the word "director" or "directors" herein refers to a member or members of the Board of Directors, and the use of the phrase "full Board" herein refers to the total number of directors which the corporation would have if there were no vacancies on the Board of Directors.