WASHINGTON, D.C. — The future of local television as delivered by AT&T’s DirecTV direct broadcast satellite service, and the lack of availability of the closest network affiliate in a market without one, is perhaps one of the biggest topics associated with the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act, or STELAR.
Under STELAR, DirecTV has provided 12 DMAs distant-signal stations, under the guise that doing otherwise would be costly and difficult — even though DBS competitor Dish Network has done so.
Reauthorization of STELAR would allow this to continue, while also keeping the important RV market’s access to network stations as is — something that’s become an equally important issue. Then, there’s the subject of retrans fees, which has fueled a Capitol Hill fight against the NAB, which wants STELAR to sunset.
An all-important hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Wednesday (10/23) will help in determine whether STELAR will continue to shine, or fade away at the end of 2019.