Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced a straight forward bill to renew STELAR this week.
In response, MAB television members have flooded Michigan Sen. Gary Peters’ office with letters in opposition, asking him to let the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), know that he stands with his local television stations to let STELAR sunset at the end of the year. In doing so, it would help the 12 undeserved markets to negotiate carriage with the satellite carriers.
Thank you to the Television General Managers who jumped right on this issue and sent their letters this week. If you have not yet sent your e-letter to Senator Peters asking for his support please still do so. Sen. Wicker is pushing this bill to move quickly. We couldn’t stop the introduction, but with the help of all TV GM’s across the country we may stop it from passing. (A sample letter is provided below.)
Sen. Peters has voiced his concern over re-transmission stalemates, even though they have not lasted very long in Michigan. Let him know that we have mandated good faith negotiations now and still sometimes can’t come to agreement, causing brief blackouts. Extending STELAR is not going to change that. Broadcasters are hurt as much as satellite providers in a black out. We do all that we can to prevent them. All we want is to be paid fairly by others benefiting financially from the sales of our product.
Ask Sen. Peters to raise his voice in opposition to the Extension of STELAR.
Read below for sample letter suggested by the NAB and the appropriate email addresses. Sen. Peters has a great staff who will relay your concerns but they MUST hear from you, his constituents.
Dear Senator Peters,
Senator Wicker introduced a bill that would extend both STELAR’s distant signal license and good faith provisions for five years. We encourage you to join us in voicing strong opposition to this proposed legislation. Though the bill was a “clean bill” addressing only a couple of issues, it would still extend STELAR for 5 more years. We hear that the Senator wants to move quickly on his proposed approach.
Extending STELAR would continue the harm posed to broadcast viewers in 12 neglected markets, one of which is Alpena Michigan on the shore of Lake Huron where viewers are unable to receive some of their favorite programming because Direct TV refuses to carry the local CBS Affiliate unlike they do in many larger markets. Additionally people receiving their television through Direct TV will not receive the local news, weather and information they want. Senator Wicker’s proposed extension of STELAR also perpetuates harm to viewers and the market by the prolonged cycles of a five-year reauthorizations. It further does absolutely nothing to help prevent black-outs during or following Retransmission Consent negotiations when a stalemate is hit.
May we count on you Senator Peters to convey opposition to Senator Wicker’s legislative approach to Ranking Member Cantwell?
I look forward to hearing from you about your support on this important issue to your local television stations.
(Sign your name and and included your title, station and contact information.)