Is Your TV Station Being Carried?

Posted on December 31st, 2014 by

We’ve all seen the discount double check commercials featuring Aaron Rodgers. They comically encourage insurance customers to double check their insurance rates to be sure they’re getting the best deal.

We have another real life application of the double-check mentality – in the context of the FCC’s must-carry rules. A few months ago, qualified TV stations had to make triennial must-carry elections against cable and DBS providers. While DBS providers actually have to respond to those letters and advise stations as to their carriage status, cable operators do not have a similar obligation.

For that reason, in the first few days of January 2015, TV stations should check on their carriage status with every cable operator against whom a carriage election was made. You can do that by checking channel line-ups online, or with your station’s viewers. In most instances, the cable systems get it right, but there are situations where the cable company ignores an election letter.

What should you do if your station is not being carried? Under the FCC’s rules, you must raise the lack of carriage via a letter to the cable operator noting your valid election and the operator’s failure to carry the station. That letter will factor in to the start of a 60-day clock on your deadline to file a complaint against the cable operator with the FCC, so exercise caution or get qualified assistance.