Nab 2014

Wheeler Urges Broadcasters To See It His Way

Saying the FCC wants to help the industry, Chairman Tom Wheeler urges support of open Internet regs and participation in the incentive auction; says the commission will back ATSC 3.0; defends the new JSA rule; and questions industry support of OET-69.
TVNewsCheck,

Under fire from broadcasters for adopting stricter enforcement of the local ownership limits, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said at the NAB Show on Tuesday that the agency is prepared to help the industry thrive in the “challenging” new media environment.

“We’re living in really challenging times,” Wheeler said during a standing-room-only session at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. “Those times call for us to say, ‘How can we seize the opportunity created by change, rather than how do I build bulwarks against change.’ ”

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NAB's Gordon Smith (l) and FCC's Tom Wheeler
First, Wheeler urged broadcasters to support the FCC’s effort to resurrect open Internet regulations so that they are better able to provide OTT services. He warned that the OTT “window of opportunity won’t stay open forever.”

He said broadcasters could raise capital for such new services by selling at least part of their existing spectrum back during the agency’s incentive auction. “Spectrum sharing will allow you to maintain your existing business while taking home an auction check,” he said. “It sounds like a pretty good deal to me.”

Wheeler also offered to help support the development and implementation of the OFDM-based next generation broadcast TV standard, which is known as ATSC 3.0. “The FCC will be ready and responsive when the standard is completed,” the chairman said.

Wheeler also said that he would help with transitioning the country to the new standard, which is incompatible with existing TV sets. “It’s going to be a long and heavy lift,” Wheeler said. “We should not shrink from it, nor underestimate its magnitude.”

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Wheeler also defended the FCC’s March 31 vote to crack down on joint sales agreements, insisting that the agency’s action had been solely aimed at fulfilling the FCC’s mandate to promote competition, diversity and localism.

“Where sidecar deals serve the public interest by advancing the goals established by Congress, they are appropriate,” he said. “When entanglements between separately owned stations serve as end runs around our local television rules, however, it’s appropriate to push the stop button.”

Wheeler said that the March 31 FCC decision to bar a market’s top four TV stations from jointly negotiating retrans deals was driven by what he said was the congressional intent that the deals be conducted “one at a time.”

Broadcasters are also concerned that pending FCC proposals to eliminate the syndicated exclusivity, network nonduplication and sports blackout rules will also undermine a broadcaster’s local exclusivity.

But Wheeler didn’t spell out exactly what the agency’s planned to do about those regulations. “I think it’s worthwhile to look at that,” he said.

Wheeler also questioned NAB’s insistence on using OET-69, instead of an FCC-backed model that includes more up-to-date data, for the incentive auction’s repacking plan. “That’s a real head-scratcher for me,” Wheeler said.

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Comments (4) -

Roger Thornhill Nickname posted over 2 years ago
OK, if Wheeler really wants to help broadcast television, delay the auction until ATSC 3.0 is fully implemented. If 3.0 is released in 2015, as is predicted, the auction could be held as soon as 2017--well within the mandated 2022 deadline.
Insider Nickname posted over 2 years ago
Wheeler also said that Broadcasters should be more like Netflixs. Ok. Let's charge everyone for $7.99 for the first account and more depending on how many people want to watch something different in the house at the same time. How does that sound Mr. Wheeler?
tjxx Nickname posted over 2 years ago
This guy is a bigger joke than his boss!!!
D S Nickname posted over 2 years ago
I'm tired of this conflict of interest between the FCC and any/all other parts of the industry. We have one commissioner leave to take a high paying lobbyist job with Comcast (back in the 1950's they probably would have called this "Payola".. sadly what Alan Freed allegedly did pales in comparison to a commissioner leaving to take a job with a company that her decisions while with the FCC helped). Then we have Wheeler who has close ties with the group that most benefits from the spectrum "buy-back". And then let's look at the existing vs. future "spectrum cost" to the public. All these channels are free OTA services to the public. As "I.T. bandwidth" this same spectrum will be charged back.. on a regular "kilobyte basis" to the public for "the use". I see an end to a LOT of jobs (TV broadcasts) in exchange for the ramp of a new industry with a MUCH smaller "employee base", while the public gets charged for the "same air that was once free"... AND a bunch of people in the "upper tax bracket" getting rich(er)! I would propose that NO person from any part of the "RF use industry" be permitting to come directly from that industry into the FCC (without, say, a five year hiatus from the industry), AND NO person from the FCC (or maybe federal government) be permitted to take a job within ANY industry that any of their decisions (while in federal government) may have impacted for a period of no less than 10 years (I'm speaking to YOU Meredeth Attwell Baker!)
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Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 22, 2016
  • 1.
    4.0/14
  • 2.
    1.7/6
  • 3.
    1.3/5
  • 4.
    0.9/3
  • 5.
    0.6/2
  • 6.
    0.3/1
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Rob Owen

    Easily fall’s best broadcast network comedy pilot, NBC’s The Good Place offers a clever high-concept premise that’s complemented with intelligent, sometimes absurdist humor. Created by Michael Schur, co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, The Good Place is a highly serialized series that’s essentially set in heaven and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. NBC made five episodes of The Good Place available for review, and the show not only holds up, but also it improves, deepening characters that initially feel one-note and frequently leaving viewers guessing with cliffhanger endings to many of the episodes. The combination of snappy dialogue and winning but flawed characters makes The Good Place a great bet for fans of smart TV comedy.

  • Maureen Ryan

    Pitch has swagger, for good reason. It gets the big things right; the Fox drama about the first female baseball player in the Major Leagues is one of the year’s most assured and exciting debuts. But part of what impresses about the pilot is also the way it confidently strings together so many small but telling details. Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to be called up from the minors to the big leagues, and no show since Friday Night Lights has done a better job of portraying the internal and external pressures that weigh heavily on young athletes asked to do much more than merely succeed on the field. Pitch will likely do a good job of getting viewers to root for it. The hope is that the show won’t be an impressive, short-lived curiosity, but rather a long-term phenomenon.

  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

    The second reboot of the 1980s John Candy movie Uncle Buck, bumped by ABC from midseason, has the same tired jokes you'll find on any second-rate sitcom. Too bad, because Mike Epps is appealing and ABC would be wise to keep him around for future shows, but there’s just not enough to this show to suggest it will last past summer. It also airs against NBC’s America’s Got Talent, summer’s No. 1 program on broadcast, which may make it even harder to find an audience.

  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

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