FCC Uses Authority Granted in STELAR to Condemn Broadcasters for Acting in Bad Faith

Nov 8, 2019

Broadcasters Seeking to Kill FCC Power to Decide what Are “Good Faith” Negotiations

WASHINGTON, DC – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today condemned nine broadcast station groups calling their actions “egregious” for refusing to act in “good faith” during a retransmission consent negotiation.  The FCC’s authority to protect consumers against this kind of anti-consumer behavior is included in the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELAR) which will expire at the end of the year if Congress fails to act. 

 “The FCC today took a strong and decisive stand for TV viewers and consumers, which should underscore why it is so critical for them to continue to be the arbiter for good faith negotiations on retransmission consent,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.  “Broadcasters want to kill the FCC’s ability to referee these negotiations, but today’s decision should remind everyone why it is so important that there be a fair judge.  Congress must renew current law and strengthen the FCC’s “good faith” authority or American TV viewers are going to suffer more blackouts and runaway cable and satellite TV fees.”

Since 2006, retrans fees have gone from about $215 million to $11.7 billion in 2019, an increase of 5,359%.  Consumers have endured 276 broadcaster blackouts in 2019, a new record. 

TV Blackout Crisis: Over 1,300 Blackouts since 2010 as Broadcasters Rake in Billions from Viewers

Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to more than 1,300 broadcaster-initiated blackouts.  Blackouts have affected consumers in nearly every congressional district and media market across the U.S.

  • 276 blackouts in 2019
  • 165 blackouts in 2018
  • 213 blackouts in 2017
  • 104 blackouts in 2016
  • 193 blackouts in 2015
  • 94 blackouts in 2014
  • 119 blackouts in 2013
  • 90 blackouts in 2012
  • 42 blackouts in 2011
  • 8 blackouts in 2010


The American Television Alliance (ATVA) brings together an unprecedented coalition of consumer groups, cable, satellite, telephone companies, and independent programmers to raise awareness about the risk TV viewers face as broadcasters increasingly threaten service disruptions that would deny viewers access to the programs they and their families enjoy.

For more information about ATVA, visit our website. Follow us on Twitter @ATVAlliance.