Sinclair, Mediacom Reach Retrans Deal
One-year deal covers 22 stations in 15 markets, Mediacom drops FCC complaint
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/7/2010 12:55:48 PM
No details were immediately available, but the one-year deal covers 22 TV stations in 15 markets.
As part of the deal, Mediacom has agreed to drop its retrans at the FCC complaint against Sinclair.
"We are very happy with the outcome of the negotiations which includes an acceptable economic arrangement," said Sinclair President David Smith. "We are pleased that our viewers and Mediacom's customers will continue to receive the important and popular programming carried on our stations such as the local news, sports, and network shows as CSI, American Idol and 24."
Mediacom was just happy it was over. "We negotiated pretty aggressively on both sides for the last couple of days," said Mediacom VP of Public and Legal Affairs Tom Larsen, "and we were able to get something done."
And is Mediacom happy with the economic arrangement? "That fact that the deal is done is good," said Larsen. "We wanted to make sure that this [programming] didn't go off the air."
But he said that Mediacom is "certainly" not happy with the process. "We think the retrans process is broken and are going to seek to have that reformed in the next year, working with people like Senator John Kerry to help reform it."
Kerry has said Congress will look into the retrans process to try to prevent a repeat of the last few weeks, when potential station-pulling on Dec. 31--there were ultimately extensions in both cases--had viewers concerned they would miss their college bowl games.
Sinclair was scheduled to pull the signal Dec. 31, but both sides agreed to an 8-day extension at Sinclair's asking price, which would have expired Jan. 8.
The FCC's Media Bureau, which has been getting daily updates on the retrans talks, according to sources, welcomed the news.
"I am pleased that these companies have agreed on new retransmission terms, as contemplated by the governing statute," said Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake. "Their agreement will prevent the disruption and frustration that Mediacom customers would have experienced if Sinclair stations were no longer available over Mediacom systems."
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