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SATELLITE INDUSTRY CONDEMNS ABC’S UNWARRANTED HARASSMENT OF RURAL AMERICAN SATELLITE CONSUMERS

-- ABC Pulls Monica Lewinsky Coverage for C-Band Satellite Owners, Advises Them to Pick Up the Signal Over-the-Air --

ALEXANDRIA, VA, MARCH 4, 1999 – The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association (SBCA) today condemned ABC’s anti-consumer tactics and unwarranted harassment of rural American C-band satellite dish owners after the network ordered its WKRN-Nashville, TN affiliate to pull its "20/20" Barbara Walters’ exclusive interview with Monica Lewinsky from the direct feed the company provides to PrimeTime24’s uplink. The network ran a message advising consumers about the pre-emption, "Due to limitations on the distribution rights held by ABC, the special edition of ‘20/20’ is being broadcast in this time period by ABC-affiliated stations and is not available on this distribution channel. The broadcast edition of tonight’s edition of ‘20/20’ is available over the air from the ABC-affiliated station in your area."

"This outright harassment of C-band satellite consumers is unjustified and unacceptable," stated SBCA President Chuck Hewitt. "The vast majority of C-band dish owners are rural Americans who have absolutely no over-the-air access to the networks -- it is ludicrous to run an advisory telling consumers to switch to an over-the-air broadcast which they cannot receive. This decision is just another example of the broadcasters continuing anti-consumer stance. The broadcasters have clearly given rural consumers the message that they just don’t care."

The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association of America (SBCA) is the national trade organization representing all segments of the home satellite industry. It is committed to expanding the utilization of satellite technology for the broadcast delivery of entertainment, news, information and educational programming. The SBCA is composed of DBS service providers, programmers, equipment manufacturers, distributors, retailers, encryption vendors, and national and regional distribution companies.