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BUSINESS
January 19, 2014 | Michael Hiltzik
The big television networks have faced all number of challenges in recent years. But they could be done in by something called Aereo. Most people probably haven't heard of Aereo, which has been rolling out its video service for just over a year and still serves only 10 cities, none further west than Salt Lake. But millions will be hearing about it now, because on Jan. 10, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the broadcasters' complaints that Aereo's business dramatically breaches telecommunications and copyright law. The New York start-up offers its subscribers signals from their local over-the-air broadcasters in a way that is either a minor tweak of how they can get those signals on their own (that's Aereo's version)
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ENTERTAINMENT
December 13, 2012 | By Meg James
CALM wasn't easy to achieve. CALM Act, the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation law, which limits the volume of TV commercials, took effect Thursday. It requires broadcasters to ensure that TV commercials maintain the same volume as the entertainment programming in which they are contained. The legislative effort was begun more than four years ago by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Menlo Park), who was blasted by blaring ads on TV during a family holiday gathering. “This has been a top consumer complaint for decades,” Eshoo said during a news conference Thursday in Washington.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2013 | By Joe Flint
News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey made big headlines Monday for suggesting that Fox could go from a broadcast network to cable channel to make ends meet.  The implication is that consumers would have to pay to watch Bart Simpson or catch some NFL football on Sunday afternoons. But for all intents and purpose, Fox is already a cable channel and has been for a long time. Yes, about 10% to 15% of the country's TV consumers still get Fox via antennas, but everyone else receives its signals from a pay-TV provider such as Time Warner Cable or DirecTV.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 31, 2014 | By Joe Flint
The Federal Communications Commission approved new rules Monday that will greatly reduce and potentially bring to an end the popular practice of business partnerships between competing local television stations. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said such partnerships have been abused by many broadcasters who have used so-called joint sales agreements to get around the regulatory agency's rules limiting the number of television stations a broadcaster can own. The new guidelines are seen as a blow to several big broadcasters including Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Broadcasting, two of the nation's largest owners of local television stations.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 11, 2012 | By Joe Flint
The amount of money broadcast networks are collecting from both pay-TV distributors and their own affiliate stations for their content is growing faster than Wall Street had anticipated. In a new report, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger said CBS is anticipating revenue of $1 billion in 2016 from retransmission consent fees from cable and satellite operators and their own affiliates. CBS had previously said it wouldn't hit that number until 2017. According to Juenger, that figure is based on a subscription fee of $1.22 per-month, per-subscriber from multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs)
ENTERTAINMENT
September 28, 2012 | By Joe Flint
The Federal Communications Commission has put the wheels in motion to take some airwaves from broadcasters and auction that spectrum for wireless broadband. In a 5-0 vote Friday the FCC issued what is known as a notice of proposed rulemaking, which is a first step toward determining how its airwaves auction will work. Broadcasters are being asked to voluntarily give up some of their spectrum, which will then be auctioned off to wireless companies. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and the wireless industry believe that the nation is running out of spectrum for new platforms and mobile devices, particularly in large urban areas.
NEWS
June 12, 2012 | By Jon Healey
This post has been updated, as indicated below. Unless the Federal Communications Commission swoops in, Tuesday could be a belated day of reckoning for cable TV customers with old-school analog sets. Local television stations shut off their analog broadcasts three years ago, forcing anyone who relied on over-the-air signals to switch to swap their analog TVs for digital ones or, more affordably, buy digital-to-analog converter boxes. The latter cost about $50, but the feds offered to subsidize the purchase of up to two boxes per home, cutting the price to about $10. Most cable TV subscribers, however, didn't have to worry about the change in technology.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 5, 1996
Congratulations to the TV Campaign '96 Coalition for trying to convince local commercial television stations to provide daily coverage of election issues ("Most L.A. TV Stations Refuse to Set Aside Time for Issues," Calendar, Sept. 23). It is dismaying, but not surprising, to learn that some broadcasters feel they have no role to play in encouraging the development of a more knowledgeable electorate. By shirking this responsibility, broadcasters are violating the public trust that should accompany their licenses.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 26, 1992
So after spending years bullying the networks into accepting guidelines for the depiction of violence, Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) now bemoans that the guidelines "lack teeth" because they can't be enforced by law. Damn right! Maybe he's forgotten, but there's a thing called the First Amendment that prevents government from proscribing what its citizens may see and say. Ultimately, there's only one solution--abolish the FCC (at least as far as it has power to control content). After over half a century of operating by leave of the government, let broadcasters take their rightful place alongside book, magazine and newspaper publishers and let the public truly decide what it wants.
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