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February 7, 2005
Contact: Steve Jones

The "Must Carry" Rules Explained in CTPAAbriefs

Publication Provides a DTV Transition Primer

Washington, DC - Today the Cable Television Public Affairs Association (CTPAA) released the second issue (January 2005) of "CTPAAbriefs," exploring the Federal "Must Carry" rules and their affect on the Digital Transition (DTV). The brief is designed to serve as a "primer" on the transition from analog to digital transmission of broadcast television. It explains what "must carry" rules are, how they developed, and the arguments over what they should look like in a digital era of multicasting.

To help cable operators and others in the industry unfamiliar with the "must carry" rules, the brief opens with a short history. It explains the theory behind "must carry" and the perceived need to protect local broadcasters. The brief outlines the current state of the law regarding "must carry" and retransmission consent, and illustrates the difference between these two related concepts. Next it explains how "must carry" laws become complicated when operators are required to carry both analog and digital versions of each broadcast channel during the transition. The publication concludes with the ongoing debate over whether operators should be required to carry more than just the broadcaster's "primary" signal, a concept known as "multicasting."

CTPAAbriefs is a periodical developed for the express purpose of bringing clarity to topical and complex cable television industry issues. The CTPAAbriefs are written for public affairs, government relations, executive office and other staff members who need a clear, concise, subject-oriented guide on industry topics they must face, most often at the local level. The briefs provide a response on industry issues from the cable perspective.

This brief is written in a straightforward, conversational style, so it may be handed directly to local opinion leaders as a valuable guide to this cable industry issue. Approximately 1,000 copies of the publication are being mailed to CTPAA members and cable system executives. Additionally individual issues may be downloaded from the association Web site,


CTPAA is the only national, professional organization specifically addressing the issues, needs and interests of the cable industry's public affairs professionals. Its mission is to develop and promote public affairs excellence to help achieve industry, corporate and social goals. A strong advocate of the public affairs professional's participation in all aspects of corporate decision-making processes, CTPAA works to enhance each member's status and influence through skill building and professional development. For more information on CTPAA, go to

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