Newly named Sen Commerce ranking Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) is expressing her concern about so-called program tying arrangements. In a letter to FCC chmn Kevin Martin last week, Hutchinson requested a status report on the type and number of complaints received by the Commission involving carriage disputes between independent programmers and cable operators, as well as those between cable ops and broadcasters relating to retrans. Hutchinson is top Republican following Sen Ted Stevens ‘ indictment on charges related to a corruption probe. "The statute is clear that unaffiliated providers of video programming must be protected from discrimination by MVPDs, and that the FCC is to provide expedited review of any complaints made by unaffiliated programming providers," she wrote. WealthTV has had a carriage complaint pending against Time Warner Cable since Dec. It filed complaints against Bright House, Comcast and Cox this past spring. Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) also weighed in on the issue recently, urging the FCC to quickly bring "much-needed clarity and certainty" to the program carriage rules.

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