FCC vote will ease satellite-carriage requests for TV stations

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The FCC voted Wednesday to change its satellite-carriage request requirements for public broadcasters, which had previously tripped up at least one station.

To gain carriage on satellite services, noncommercial stations ask providers to carry their signals. Under former FCC rules, requests needed to be submitted in writing via “certified mail, return receipt requested.”

But after the FCC’s vote, stations can now upload electronic requests for carriage to their online public files and email new carriage requests to satellite providers.

“By simplifying and modernizing the satellite carriage election process for local public television stations to reflect the unique nature of public television, the FCC is helping ensure that public television stations are readily available to all Americans on whatever platform they choose,” said Patrick Butler, president of America’s Public Television Stations, in a statement.

KMTP in San Francisco ran afoul of the previous rules when it made its 2017 carriage request to Dish Network by priority express mail instead of certified mail. Dish denied the request, and the station appealed to the FCC. The commission sided with Dish “because KMTP failed to send its carriage election by the method required under our rules,” it said in its Jan. 23, 2018, ruling.

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