Washington

FCC Asks Fox and Cablevision to Defend Negotiations

Media Bureau gives Oct. 25 deadline for replies or evidence of bad faith 10/22/2010 02:41:02 PM Eastern

The FCC has asked both Cablevision and Fox to explain by
Monday, Oct. 25, how their negotiations square with the law that
requires them to be "in good faith."

The commission also wants each side to provide any evidence against the other side if they have it.

In a letter to News Corp. President Chase Carey and
Cablevision President James Dolan, FCC Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake said
that the FCC has defined good faith barginaing as "conducted in an
atmosphere of honesty, purpose and clarity of process."

Lake wants each to describe how they are satisfying that
requirement in the context of their retransmission consent battle. "In
particular, we request that you describe with specificity what has
transpired since you initially began your negotiations,
and detail the efforts your company is making to end the current
impasse.

"As you know," he concluded, "your contract dispute
extends beyond just Fox and Cablevision.  Indeed, it affects millions of
innocent consumers who expect to watch their preferred broadcast
programming without interruption.  We urge you to place
the interests of these consumers first and conclude your negotiations
promptly."

"We welcome the FCC's intervention," said Cablevision spokesman
Charles Scheuler. "Whether through FCC action, binding arbitration or
any other means, the time
has come for News Corp to end the Fox blackout of 3 million Cablevision
households."

A Fox spokesman had no comment on the request or whether it would be alleging any bad faith, beyond saying that:
"We will respond directly to the FCC."

 

September
October