Broadcasters

FCC hands AT&T a win in dispute with TV stations

A photo of AT&T's logo and next to the company's name.
Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images.

AT&T scored a victory in a bitter battle with TV station owners Friday when the Federal Communications Commission intervened to order the broadcasters to the negotiating table.

Why it matters: The FCC rarely weighs in on the rapidly multiplying disputes between pay-TV companies and broadcasters over the costs of carrying programming. Its move here could have repercussions for disputes beyond this one.

The fight over small-town TV

Illustration of an old fashioned TV with a hand inserting a coin through a coin slot on its top
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

TV station owners are taking advantage of FCC rules to quietly take over small-town airwaves, but cable and satellite companies are crying foul to regulators.

Driving the news: Broadcasters aren't supposed to own more than one top-rated outlet in any market, but they are snapping up multiple stations anyway in small markets like Parkersburg, West Virginia and Greenville, Mississippi, as the broadcast TV market is challenged by changes in technology and advertising.