Will a federal court throw out the FCC’s newly reinstituted 30% cable ownership cap? “Bet the farm,” GOP commish Robert McDowell told reporters Thurs. McDowell was a vocal opponent of Tues’ vote to limit the percentage of multichannel subs one cable operator can own, calling it unnecessary as DBS’ market share has nearly doubled since a federal court threw out the cap 6 years ago. Pressed on whether the cable industry is getting a full and fair hearing with FCC chmn Kevin Martin, McDowell said he’d defer that question to the industry. He did add that cable has “certainly been kept busy by the chmn” and has been given the opportunity to comment on plenty of items. So has cable received “full and fair outcomes?” “There have been full outcomes. They’ve been full of something,” he said. In Nov, McDowell criticized the FCC for its handling of the 70/70 test, which could have been used to add new cable regulations if 3 commissioners hadn’t balked. Despite his disapproval of the 70/70 process, McDowell said he doesn’t believe the FCC needs an overhaul as some members of Congress have suggested. “The basic building blocks are in place for a healthy, independent administrative agency,” he said, though he added the inability for all 5 commissioners to meet privately can give rise to “dysfunction.” The FCC’s justification for the 70/70 test being met was criticized by McDowell and Dem Jonathan Adelstein, who suggested that contrary FCC data was suppressed from the draft. “If I have a concern regarding the process, I try to raise it internally as well as publicly,” McDowell said. Other highlights: Does he support Martin’s plan to allow minorities and women to lease broadcasters’ digital spectrum and receive must-carry rights? No. “I don’t think it’s legal or constitutional.” Is he pushing to become FCC chmn if a Republican is elected in ’08? “No… I am very lucky to have this post,” he said, adding that it is the new president’s prerogative who he makes chair.

The Daily

Subscribe

Shudder Hits 1mln Subs

AMC Networks ’ streaming service Shudder surpassed 1mln subscribers. The company said the SVOD’s growth

Read the Full Issue
The Skinny is delivered on Tuesday and focuses on the cable profession. You'll stay in the know on the headlines, topics and special issues you value most. Sign Up