Modification to TV Must-Carry Election Procedures Adopted

Posted on July 31st, 2019 by

At its July 10 Open Meeting, the FCC adopted a Report & Order modifying how television stations elect between retransmission consent and mandatory carriage on cable and DBS systems every three years, beginning with the 2021-2023 carriage election cycle.

Instead of notifying systems of their election via certified mail, stations will now upload their elections to their public files every three years and notify cable/DBS systems via e-mail only if they decided to change their election from the previous cycle. As part of the process, stations and cable/DBS systems will be required to maintain a designated carriage election phone number and e-mail address on the main page of their online public file, and cable/DBS systems would have to verify receipt of carriage e-mails they receive from stations. Elections emailed to cable/DBS providers will be copied to a dedicated FCC email address.

The FCC anticipates that the new system will be used for the 2021-2023 carriage election cycle, with July 31, 2020 being the deadline for broadcasters and cable/DBS systems to provide their carriage phone/email information. The carriage election deadline will remain the same, October 1, 2020.