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Hispanic TV group asks FCC to broker carriage deal with DirecTV

ZGS Communications, a Hispanic-owned broadcaster with 9 Spanish-language Telemundo affiliates in some of the nation’s largest markets, told the Federal Communications Commission that DirecTV has “systematically denied” the group carriage on its service.

The letter addressed to all five commissioners, was filed Monday as part of the FCC’s ongoing review of AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV.

In the letter, Ronald Gordon, CEO of ZGS asked the FCC to broker a mutually-acceptable carriage deal with DirecTV or the merged AT&T-DirecTV before approving the merger.

“Despite numerous and on-going attempts, ZGS has experienced extraordinary difficulty in securing DirecTV carriage, which in turn denies a large number of Latino viewers and subscribers access to their local stations,” Gordon wrote.

By denying carriage, Gordon accused DirecTV of misleading subscribers when it advertisers is carries all local stations.

While the group did not take a position on the merits of the merger or whether it should be approved, ZGS said the merger offers the FCC the opportunity to address the “local programming/carriage dilemma” in the context of protecting the public interest of localism.

“ZGS respectfully requests that, in performing its duty to evaluate the complex communications, telecommunications, and antitrust issues raised by the merger proposal, the commission carefully survey the communications landscape with a view toward promoting full service to minority communities, and diversity of ownership and voices in the industry…. At a minimum, the commission should strongly urge the powerful AT&T-DirecTV monolith to give serious consideration to fully and effectively serving local communities, and address ZGS’ longstanding carriage request,” Gordon wrote.

Regulators are in the final stages of reviewing AT&T’s $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV. To give them a little more time, the companies Monday extended the merger termination date. .