Washington

Kerry Pushes FCC to Step Into DirecTV-Sunbeam Dispute

Wants the chairman to "immediately and personally" ask DirecTV and Sunbeam to reach a deal and restore WHDH Boston and WLVI Miami to DirecTV 1/20/2012 03:01:55 PM Eastern

While most retrans deals in the latest round
have been done without blackouts, the Sunbeam-DirecTV impasse has drawn a
letter from Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to the FCC, asking it to step in, and
while it is at it, complete the retrans rulemaking prompted partly by earlier,
high-profile blackouts that drew congressional attention.

Kerry
said in a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, that he did not know the terms of the proposals or the reason for the
impasse, but said that in the interests of his constituents, he wants the
chairman to "immediately and personally" ask DirecTV and Sunbeam to
reach a deal and restore WHDH Boston (and WLVI Miami) to DirecTV, saying he continues
to hear from families who are the "collateral damage" in retrans
disputes. "No one wants to see this trend continue," he said, "but I
fear these confrontations will only continue to reach their peaks abound the 'must
see' live events that matter so much to consumers."

The
chairman's office had no comment, but the chairman has historically expressed
the commission's reluctance to get into the middle of retrans disputes while
urging the parties to do their best to come to an agreement for the sake of
viewers.

Kerry
pointed out that it was the third year in a row he has contacted the FCC about
a retrans dispute, and urged it to complete its pending rulemaking on retrans
reform.

 

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