Local television news is among the most popular and trusted media in the country. With newspapers disappearing TV stations are often the only sources of community news. Yet an outdated Federal Communications Commission rule is threatening this final outpost of community journalism by diverting revenue away from local TV news to middlemen.
The 1992 rule requires cable and satellite TV companies to negotiate directly with local broadcasters when they want to carry their signals. But digital streaming services such as Hulu+Live TV, YouTube TV and Paramount+ and others aren’t required to negotiate with local stations. Many stations have affiliation agreements with national broadcast networks to carry the networks’ programming, which they rebroadcast with their own local content.