FCC ends America-CV/Liberty Cablevision squabble
America-CV Station Group Inc. recently chalked up a legal victory for itself in a squabble against Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico — which it took up with the Federal Communications Commission — over the airing of the MundoFox Network.
In a complaint filed with the FCC in August 2012, America-CV, licensee of television stations WJPX (Ch. 24 in San Juan) and WIRS (Ch. 42 in Yauco), claimed that when its stations became affiliates of the MundoFox television network it found problems getting space in Liberty’s lineup of channels, partly because it was seeking to move its prior AmericaTévé programming to Ch. 24.2.
America-CV complained to the FCC that Liberty continued to carry WJPX’s AmericaTévé programming on cable channel 24 and had not begun carrying America-CV’s new MundoFox programming on channel 24.1.
In its response, Liberty said America-CV’s complaint resulted in it being forced to carry both of WJPX’s feeds “through the subterfuge of switching WJPX’s primary feed to MundoFox programming and claiming carriage rights for WIRS’ primary feed, which consists of AmericaTévé programming.”
WJPX had historically identified AmericaTévé programming as its primary stream, and America-CV gave Liberty no notice of its intent to move this AmericaTévé programming from channel 24.1 to 24.2, so Liberty continued to place WJPX’s AmericaTévé programming on its cable channel 24, the cable carrier said.
“We find that Liberty could not put MundoFox network programming on channel 24 and delete AmericaTévé programming or reposition it onto channels 41 or 42 (which may or may not also require repositioning the FX channel, currently on channel 42), without first giving its subscribers 30 days advance notice, as these amounted to the service changes anticipated by the rules discussed above,” the FCC conceded.
“Because Liberty did not have sufficient time to inform its subscribers of America-CV’s programming changes, it did not err in failing to carry these stations. However, given that these stations’ carriage rights are now clarified, Liberty must now notify its subscribers and start carrying these stations,” the agency further noted.
The FCC concluded that Liberty Cablevision must begin airing WJPX and WIRS within 60 days of the order dated Jan. 3, as long as WIRS’s delivers “a good quality signal” to Liberty’s cable system. Liberty subscribers must also receive 30 days’ notice of the cable service changes.