Katrina TV Markets Get Carriage Extensions

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TV stations in five markets slammed by Hurricane Katrina have been given six-week extensions to decide whether to demand or negotiate cable and satellite carriage, the Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday.

The triennial deadline for carriage election is Oct. 1, but the FCC's Media Bureau said TV stations in Katrina’s path were entitled to extensions until Nov. 15. The five markets are: Baton Rouge, La.; New Orleans; Mobile, Ala./Pensacola, Fla.; Hattiesburg-Laurel, Miss.; and Biloxi-Gulfport, Miss.

Elections made by Nov. 15 are to take effect Jan. 1. The FCC said it would not extend the Jan. 1 deadline, and it reminded broadcasters and pay TV distributors of their legal obligation to negotiate in good faith.

The agency also agreed to extend expiring retransmission-consent agreements “to maintain the flow of vital information to the public.”

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