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From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/business/media/aereo-has-tv-networks-circling-the-wagons.html
> Interesting! Apparently, the FCC can't mandate that networks
> own over-air facilities. This could kill the affiliate-owner
> business overnight, kind of like how the do not call law
> telemarketing as a legitimate business. Tom Fine

This is going way off-topic.

Actually station ownership by a network is not the point here because
cable has spawned MANY non-broadcast networks.  What the FCC CAN require
is that the traditional networks -- NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox -- MUST be
transmitted by an over-the-air local affiliate before it is eligible to
be on cable.  NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox cannot distribute to cable or
satellite directly.  All others can.  Most over-the-air affiliates are
not owned by the network, so that is why your presumption was wrong.  If
these four sold off their owned-and-operated stations their status would
not change. 

I have been telling my students and others for 15 years, especially when
digital transmission was mandated, that many stations would love to be
able to turn off their transmitters and go directly to cable and
satellite since only about 25% of their audience receives them
over-the-air (and it has gotten smaller since the disaster of digital
transmission has reduced the coverage areas of most stations.)  BUT,
because of the law that the traditional networks cannot sell to cable
and satellite except through a licensed station, that can't happen.  BUT
IF THE FCC STARTS ALLOWING DIRECT NETWORK DISTRIBUTION WITHOUT GOING
THRU A STATION, THE STATIONS WILL GO OFF THE AIR.

I live in a rural area where TV has NEVER been available via antenna. 
Our cable system had a 97% saturation for its entire history back into
the 1950s -- it now shares that audience with satellite.  The TV
stations 60 miles away could turn their transmitters off and we wouldn't
notice the difference.  If we could get, say, NBC on cable or satellite
directly without WLEX-TV Lexington, the station would go out of
business.

Back in the late 1960s when Ted Turners WTCG Channel 17 Atlanta started
being microwaved to cable systems to become the first super-station, the
signal was from the over-the-air reception, but soon after it became
WTBS we stopped seeing the Atlanta car salesmen ads.  Turner set up a
second feed to cable systems. THAT is what the NYTimes article is about.
 WTBS was not a network affiliate so it could have a "light" feed.  So
there is precedent.  

Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]