LAPA Leased Access Programmers Association

Some users of leased access airtime may be short changed by their cable operator.

A number of different cable site issues have risen since I last posted to our website so let me try to at least mention one of these that active LAPers may have encountered and persons seeking to become leased access programmers might come up against.

A site where I recently requested the standard leased access information, part-time rates, designated channel number and a sample agreement, instead sent me what must be their “commercial airtime contract” used for 'long-form' (feature length shows) they place on what is technically a 'local origination' channel. This “Commercial Use Programming Agreement” while citing “Section 612 of the Communications Act” was in conflict with the standard forms used by nearly all cable sites with a number of 'terms or conditions' FCC has ruled not applicable.

For starters this 'adhesion contract' had them withholding one minute each hour or half-hour show, which I imagine put the rate above the maximum allowable by FCC's formula where the total of all part time rates for a month cannot exceed the allowable monthly rate. Most LAPers buy time in bulk, by the half or full hour, meaning the full 69 minutes, add value by creating shows and use standard 30-second TV commercials to meet their business plan. This major cable operator by withholding time, deprives the LAPer of two of those 'spots'. Ironically cable operators today make a considerable portion of their income from the sale of 30-second commercials in available ad slots of network shows they carry.

Two of the zones in this particular cable system are very close to being filled with users and I'm guessing they've been cheating these users the valuable time for a very long time. If ever two or more of the users on this system compare notes (airtime contracts masqueraded as 'leased access agreements' and discover they've been shortchanged, it could perhaps find this particular cable system paying back thousands of dollars in ill-gotten funds.

If any reader feels they may not have the proper FCC supported leased access agreement, or that they may be subject to any type mistreatment by the cable operator, they're welcome to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , provide us information on how they think they may be treated wrongfully and we'll look into it, LAPA member or not.

Charlie Stogner