Comments on proposed retrans overhaul due April 19

Just a week ago we reported here on a petition, submitted to the FCC on March 9, proposing an overhaul of the retransmission consent process. Now the Media Bureau, acting with impressive speed, has issued a Public Notice inviting comments on the petition. The Notice (released March 19) sets April 19, 2010, as the deadline for initial comments and May 4, 2010, as the deadline for reply comments. The Notice is pure boilerplate and provides no indication at all as to how the Bureau (or the Commission) might feel about the idea of comprehensive changes in retrans consent. However, as we noted in our earlier post, two days after the petition was filed, Chairman Genachowski indicated to Congress that this issue “is a subject that should be looked at seriously”. Put that together with the breakneck speed with which the Bureau has reacted to the March 9 petition and you could reasonably conclude that major changes in the retrans process may be coming sooner rather than later. Stay tuned.