House Energy & Commerce Committee Schedules SHVURA Mark-Up For Thursday
Chairman Waxman Expected To Make Managers' Amendment
John Eggerton 10/14/2009 11:06:09 AM

According to a copy of the committee notice, the House Energy & Commerce Committee is scheduling a mark-up of the Satellite Home Viewer Update and Reauthorization Act (SHVURA) on Thursday, Oct. 15, as reported by Multichannel News.

Sources say Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) wants to make some changes in the form of a managers' amendment. The amendment is expected to include the deal between DISH Network and broadcasters in which the satellite company agrees to deliver local TV station signals to all 210 Nielsen markets in exchange for being allowed back into the distant-signal business.

A National Association of Broadcasters spokesman said the organization is still on board with that deal. Local-into-local service in all 210 markets would mean a couple of dozen small-market broadcasters would get retransmission payments from satellite for the first time at a time when stations can use every extra dollar.

The House Judiciary Committee already passed a version of the bill that includes that provision, but Judiciary and Energy & Commerce split jurisdiction, with Judiciary handling the copyright issues and Energy & Commerce the portions that implicate the FCC.

The Local Community Radio Act, which reduces the separation between low-power and full-power stations, is also on the agenda for the 10 a.m. markup as well as a bill extending the Public Interoperable Communications Grant Program, which is funded with money from the 700 mHz DTV spectrum auction.

A full committee mark up of the Calm Act is not on the agenda for Thursday morning. The act was voted out of the subcommittee last week along with SHVURA, LPFM and interoperability, but at the time, Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher (D-Va.) said he planned to have more discussions with small cable operators about their concerns over the impact of the bill.

Senate and House Judiciary and Energy & Commerce committee versions of SHVURA must be reconciled and a bill passed by the end of the year or the blanket license allowing satellite TV operators to deliver distant TV network station signals will sunset.