C-SPAN Launches www.mustcarry.org1/24/2001 3:12 PM Eastern
In an effort to create an archive about its most important regulatory issue,
C-SPAN executives have established a new Web site filled with news articles,
company comments and government documents on the issue of mandatory cable
carriage of digital-TV signals.
The site -- located at www.mustcarry.org and the brainchild of
C-SPAN founder and CEO Brian Lamb -- began operating last week, only a few days
before the Federal Communications Commission ruled that cable operators are not
required to carry both sets of signals, at least for now. The FCC opened a new
proceeding to examine the issue further.
'We need to be constantly thinking about how to tell our story,' Lamb said
Wednesday. 'Must-carry continues to be the bane of our existence here. It
doesn't ever seem to go away until the broadcasters get their last pound of
flesh out of this business.'
The National Association of Broadcasters -- dual must-carry's leading
proponent -- claimed that Lamb, in stating that automatic cable carriage of
local TV stations costs C-SPAN subscribers, has exaggerated the impact of the
mandate on the cable network.
'The facts show that C-SPAN has never lost one viewer as a result of
must-carry. In fact, their own Web site shows that C-SPAN grew in audience after
must-carry was adopted,' NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton said.
Lamb insisted that his network has suffered due to crowding on cable systems
forced to carry local TV stations.
'[The] NAB is just wrong. It is easy for them to say that,' Lamb said. 'I am
not going to call them names, but they are just dead wrong.'
C-SPAN vice president and general counsel Bruce Collins said the Web site
will house an assortment of must-carry-related material, including C-SPAN's role
in the direct-broadcast satellite industry's court challenge to its own
'The goal is to have as many must-carry-related things as possible, including
materials on the [DBS must-carry suit],' he added.
Lamb said C-SPAN did not have to pay off a cyber-squatter to grab the www.mustcarry.org name. 'This is such a
skunky issue that no one wants that address. We got that one without any trouble
at all,' he added.