Contact: Neal Sacharow (323) 782-4574
 
News Release: May 27, 2011
WGAW Urges FCC to Protect Local Broadcast Stations

Writers Guild Supports Strong Retransmission Consent Rules  

LOS ANGELES -- The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to continue to protect local broadcasting through strong retransmission consent rules. The FCC must not weaken the current regulations, which require cable TV operators and direct-broadcast satellite providers to negotiate with television broadcast stations for permission to carry their local and national programming.

“The FCC’s mandate to promote diversity, localism, and competition in media is served by retransmission rules that protect broadcast stations,” said WGAW President John Wells. “Watering down the rules would undermine these important objectives.”

In comments filed today in response to the FCC’s March 3, 2011 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) the Guild states:

“The WGAW is concerned with the detrimental impact weakening retransmission consent rules would have on both the local and national content created by our members and enjoyed by consumers. The changes proposed by Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs) and considered by the FCC in the NPRM would undoubtedly enhance the market power possessed by MVPDs.

The proposed action would hurt the ability of broadcast stations to seek appropriate compensation for network programming. This would in turn reduce the revenue available for investment in new original programming nationally and locally, harming both content creators and consumers. The WGAW has a strong record of supporting consumer protections and believes the interests of content creators and consumers are very closely aligned on this issue. Writers have an interest in seeing their content reach as wide an audience as possible; consumers want reliable delivery of the programming they pay to access and the local news on which they rely. Any FCC action must be designed to serve these complementary interests, rather than further enhancing MVPD market power.”

Download a full copy of the filing here. 

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) is a labor union representing writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and Internet programming, including news and documentaries. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers, and is active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national, and international levels. For more information on the WGAW, please visit: www.wga.org.