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Martin’s multicast plan: Oh, the enthusiasm

December 1st, 2007

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s plan to give cable subscribers additional channels from local broadcasters fell off the commission’s agenda this week. But it may pop up again at the FCC’s December 18 public meeting, according to an AP report.

Martin promoted the idea that minority- and women-owned businesses (among others) would be able to lease DTV multicast channels from station owners. But a dozen Congressional Democrats, in a letter to the chairman, expressed skepticism:

“You have presented no evidence to support your assertion that multicast must-carry would promote program diversity and increase programming choices.”

Republican Martin would likely need support from his Democratic colleagues to enact multicast must-carry. But Democrat Michael Copps, who acknowledges ownership diversity as an urgent issue, suggested this week that the chairman was trying to ram the measure through.

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