FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has the cable industry in his cross-hairs, with items such as imposing a national subscriber cap, limiting the amount of self-produced programming that can be used in an attempt to increase program diversity, and possibly mandating a la carte channel menu provision. But a key data point underpinning the attempt at adding new layers of regulation is in dispute — to whit, whether the systems with 36 or more channels have 70% of the nation signed on for MVPD service — moving the Commission from regulating back to data gathering. The Faith and Family Broadcasting Coalition applauded the halt. It argues that the increasing sub lists at services like DirecTV, DISH Network, FiOS and U-verse render the old 70-70 threshold obsolete. In particular, the organization does not want the FCC meddling in the channel offering method, arguing that the noble intent of allowing families to take a pass on edgy channels will in fact kill off numerous niche channels that are in fact family-oriented.
RBR/TVBR observation: As many have pointed out, you cannot say to the local newspaper that you only want the News and Sports sections, and do not feel it’s fair to support their production of Business, Lifestyle, Arts, Classifieds, and whatever else the newspaper provides that you don’t intend to read. You want to read the News, you buy the whole paper. The FCC has no more business butting into cable’s business model than it does print’s. The answer to the parental control problem is parental controls (duh) that are provided.