Has chmn Kevin Martin lost control? The FCC‘s scheduled 9:30am open meeting still hadn’t started at 6:30pm Tues, leading to rumblings that the other 4 commissioners (even usual ally Deborah Taylor Tate) weren’t willing to go along with Martin’s wishes for a dual must-carry mandate and additional program access provisions. Of course, who really knows, as there was no word from the Federal Communications Commission on what was going on or when the meeting might start—a practice that has become typical during Martin’s tenure. Points sticking in Commissioners’ craws reportedly include Martin’s order that cable operators carry all of a broadcaster’s bits—thus disallowing the compression of signals and creating a possible backdoor to multicasting—and some of the procedural provisions included in an order extending program access rules for 5 years (including an item allowing those who file program access complaints to gain access to the contracts that the cable-affiliated programmer has with any distributor). Cable has been working hard to get Commissioners and the Hill behind a voluntary dual carriage commitment, in which it would offer must-carry broadcasters analog and digital signals for 3 years post transition. The Commissioners, sans Martin, appear to be in favor of cable’s plan, sources said Tues. Cable’s pushing for some exemptions, including for systems under 552Mhz or less. One possibility is that smaller systems’ dual carriage concerns could be addressed in a further notice. Broadcasters are fighting any such dual carriage compromise. Across town Tues at a Media Institute lunch, NAB joint board chair Jack Sander told the crowd that “I take offense at the inconsistent comments of the cable industry. On one hand, they tell consumers cable will take care of the transition for them. On the other hand, they tell the FCC they lack the capacity to carry all broadcast channels.” — Assuming Tues’ meeting starts, C-SPAN plans to cover it. No word on when or where it will air. Meanwhile, C-SPAN2 will air audio from oral arguments in the Janet Jackson Super Bowl halftime show indecency case Wed at 8pm ET. The 3rd Circuit heard arguments Tues morning. The arguments are also available on http://www.c-span.org.

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Networks are pulling out all the stops for the first presidential debate set to take place Tuesday between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

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