According to two industry sources, Sen. John McCain is expected to speak at the May 14 state of video hearing in the Senate Communications Subcommittee.
He is said to have requested the appearance. His office did not return a call for comment at press time. It was not clear whether he would stick around for the question and answer session, which would be unusual, or simply make an opening statement and then leave.
McCain is not a member of the subcommittee, but he is the author of the just-introduced a la carte bill, the Television Consumer Freedom Act, which he unveiled on the Senate floor May 9. It was expected to be a topic of conversation in the oversight hearing already, but now is sure to be.
McCain wants to unbundle cable channel and TV station retransmission-consent negotiations, get the FCC involved more in resolving program carriage disputes and force channels to be offered a la carte, all of which he says is driven by a desire to aid consumers.
Among the other witnesses are National Cable & Telecommunication Association president Michael Powell and National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith.