MMTC’s David Honig, in reply comments to the FCC regarding petitions to deny the proposed channel-sharing plan put forth by Ion Media and Urban Television used a very simple argument. The rules, on their face, support the proposal, and it should therefore be granted. Ion proposed to share 42 television licenses with Urban, and Urban will then occupy a digital side channel 24/7 on each. The pair has asked that MPVD must-carry be granted Urban due to is co-licensee status. Cable and satellite companies oppose the plan.
RBR/TVBR observation: This will be a very quick way to measurably increase ownership diversity in television, and is in line with state government policy and the campaign platform of Barack Obama. But MVPDs, which thus far have managed to avoid digital split-channel must carry obligations, do not want Ion and Urban coming in through a back door. This case bears watching.