The Exclusivity Provisions of the Federal Communications Commission's Cable Television Regulations

by Rolla Edward Park


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The Federal Communications Commission's new regulations for cable television permit cable systems operating in the 100 largest markets to carry two (and in some cases three) distant independent stations. But the rules require that some of the distant programming be blacked out to protect programs under exclusive contract to local television stations. This report presents detailed empirical estimates of the amount of programming that must be blacked out in different types of markets, concluding in general that the exclusivity provisions severely restrict distant signals in markets where distant signals are not very important anyway--those with good over-the-air independent service. In markets where distant signals [are] important--those with little or no over-the-air independent service--the exclusivity provisions leave distant signals more-or-less intact.

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