Wealth TV Asks FCC To Reopen Record On Carriage Complaint3/04/2010 4:41 PM Eastern
Wealth TV has asked the Federal Communications Commission to reopen the investigation into its carriage complaint against Comcast and other cable operator, but the top MSO maintains it is just a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that a judge has already found the complaint was not supported.
An FCC administrative law judge concluded that Wealth TV had not made its case based on the record before him, though the full commission has yet to act on that recommendation.
In a motion to reopen the case filed March 3 with the commission, a copy of which was supplied to Multichannel News, Wealth TV said Comcast has actually been carrying Wealth TV on a Princeton, N.J., cable system (Patriot Media Communications) since it bought the sytstem in 2007, and without any compensation to WealthTV.
That, according to WealthTV lawyers, means that Comcast was not forthcoming in its arguments before the ALJ that, for reasons of bandwidth constraints and audience appeal, or lack of if, Comcast did not and would not carry Wealth TV.
WealthTV now argues that due dillegence for the hearing should have alerted Comcast to the fact that it was carrying WealthTV, and that its "apparent lack of candor" is sufficient to require another hearing to determine whether Comcast negotiated in good faith.
Comcast dismissed the new complaint and in a statement suggested the FCC ought to do the same.
"Having been thoroughly rebuffed, and their claim rejected at every level, by the Commission's Chief Administrative Law Judge after a comprehensive hearing and extensive briefing, this filing is just another desperate attempt by Wealth TV to divert attention from the well-reasoned decision issued by the ALJ. The plain and simple facts of the matter are that the decisions made by the cable providers not to carry Wealth TV were completely justified and appropriate on business grounds and no violations of the program carriage rules occurred."
A Comcast source on background confirmed that the Patriot system was carrying WealthTV, but said it had asked Wealth if it wanted to deauthorize the carriage and the programmer had not asked the operator to do so.
The carriage was continuation of the programming that had been available when Comcast bought the system in 2007. The source added that if Wealth wants to deauthorize it, Comcast will need to give customers 60 days notice.