June 13, 2006
June 13, 2006
The Honorable Kevin J. Martin
Federal Communications Commission
445 Twelfth Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
Dear Chairman Martin:
RE: CS Docket No. 98-120. Carriage of Digital Television Broadcast Signals
The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) represents 10 affiliated national unions with nearly one-half million media professionals, artists, technicians and support workers who are involved in all phases of news and entertainment programming. In addition, the 23 labor organizations which comprise our alliance represent over 4 million union households with nearly 10 million television viewers in them who are consumers of news and entertainment programming. In the past, our organization and these unions have worked with the Federal Communications Commission on a range of communications issues including media ownership.
For several years the DPE and a number of our affiliates have also been very involved in the rollout of digital television, including multicasting must-carry rules. The Commission must ensure that multicasting must-carry rules are consistent with public interest obligations to ensure that free over-the-air stations are guaranteed a place in the digital world.
Opportunities for broadcasters to increase diversity, choice, and local content in video programming, while stimulating competition in the marketplace, are possible when digital multicasting is available. Local programming supports good, high-skill jobs for workers in the broadcast industry.
Only when local broadcasters are assured carriage on cable systems can they realize these benefits. Absent must-carry obligations, it is unlikely that cable companies will air broadcast programming that competes with their offerings. We therefore urge you to ensure that broadcasters meet public interest obligations to provide job-creating local public and electoral affairs programming.
Paul E. Almeida
cc: Commissioner Michael J. Copps
Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein
Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate
Commissioner Robert M. McDowell