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Cable rebuffs religious broadcasters’ efforts to carry additional channels



“Americans need to be made aware of a new bill that is being proposed that will affect television stations across the nation,” says Susan Zahn of WDC Media, a media firm.

"There is an urgent need to get language added that will prevent cable and satellite companies from excluding channels because they are religious, states Zahn.

“This new law will require the government to mandate carriage of all channels broadcast by a television station, including religious channels,” says Zahn.

The proposed provision in the new Digital TV bill is called “Multicast Must-Carry”. It will encourage diversity in broadcasting including those with a conservative and religious message. In essence, this provision in the law will help religious broadcasters create more networks to meet the needs of the faith-based community and guarantee that the cable and satellite companies will carry these new faith and family channels.

The federal government’s mandate for all television stations to convert from analog to digital technology has opened the door for broadcasters to offer more than one channel to their viewers. In particular, conservative, faith-based and family friendly broadcasters will be able to offer up to six channels in each city that they operate in. These channels represent a diversity of programming that is not prevalent on television today. This law will help create new faith-based channels for children, teens, parents and seniors in a variety of program formats.

“Multicast Must-carry” is the only means for ensuring the ability of the religious broadcasters to get these new channels on digital television.

Zahn says that without “Multicast Must-carry” the conservative, faith and family broadcasters will be at a disadvantage.

“The major media networks do not need this new law to force their own digital networks on the cable systems. Many of these secular cable networks have to be blocked by parents due to sexually explicit and violent-laden programs,” states Zahn.

“The cable companies do not readily carry the religious networks, so this “Multicast Must-carry” law will force secular cable and satellite companies to put more faith and family programs on their service,” says Zahn.

“While Congress often speaks of diversity, it seems that diversity is applied in an uneven manner when it comes to religious broadcasters. Religious broadcasters are the backbone of faith-based media outreach in this country. They demonstrate a broad variety of religious dominations and understanding of faith in our country by fostering a haven for many who are in-need, suffering or simply seeking a positive, comfortable television environment,” says Zahn.

It has been widely reported that cable has rebuffed religious broadcasters’ efforts to carry additional channels, even though they recently announced multicast carriage deals with PBS and other channels associated with larger media outlets.

“Time is of the essence,” state Zahn. “Please call or email your congressman or Senator today.”

Key Legislators

Senator Bill Frist (R-TN)

Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK)

Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO)

Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX)

Congressman Chip Pickering (R-MS)

Susan Zahn is the President of WDC Media.


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