Public TV Seeks New EchoStar Ruling


Public television stations are taking on EchoStar Communications Corp.'s move
to require subscribers to obtain free second dishes to receive some, but not
all, local TV signals in a market.

Last month, FCC Media Bureau chief Ken Ferree ruled that EchoStar's two-dish
plan broke the law, but commissioners Kevin Martin and Michael Copps said
Ferree's decision contained loopholes that negated the finding of

On Monday, the Association of Public Television Stations and PBS filed a
petition with the four FCC members and asked them to void parts of Ferree's

Since the APTS and PBS appear to have Martin and Copps on their side, they
just need one more vote to pull off a rare reversal of a bureau decision.

Public and commercial stations fear that if they are carried on wing
satellites that require second dishes to be viewed, consumers won't invest the
time and energy to obtain those second dishes, even if they're free.

Consumers are also expected not to rush for second dishes if the major
networks are available on their primary dishes.