Full power and qualifying Class A broadcast television stations must make must-carry and retransmission consent elections for the next three-year cycle by October 1, 2023.
A commercial station’s election will determine its carriage status on multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) in the station’s Designated Market Area (DMA) from January 1, 2024 to December 31, 2026. Commercial stations must upload an election statement to the “Must-Carry or Retransmission Consent” folder of their Online Public Inspection Files and keep the statement in their files for the entire three-year period. If a station changes its election choice from the previous carriage cycle, it must also send a notice to MVPDs by e-mail, with a copy to the FCC at ElectionNotices@fcc.gov, and must upload copies of the notice to its Online Public Inspection File.
Noncommercial television stations are not required to upload election letters for cable because noncommercial stations have mandatory must-carry cable rights. However, noncommercial stations must affirmatively elect carriage by satellite/DBS providers by uploading a copy of their satellite/DBS must carry requests to their Online Public Inspection Files.
In certain limited instances, qualified low power television (LPTV) stations can assert must-carry rights. Contact one of our attorneys if you operate an LPTV station and you need information about making carriage elections for the 2024-2026 cycle.
All stations should make sure the “Carriage Election Contact Information” section of their Online Public Inspection Files is accurate and up to date, as MVPDs may rely on that contact information for any questions regarding carriage.
If you have questions or need assistance with the carriage election notification process, please contact an attorney in our Media practice group.