The American TV Alliance said late Friday that despite the
Sinclair/Time Warner Cable extension agreement on their retrans impasse,
the blackout threat remains both there and elsewhere in 2011, and the FCC needs
It cited the impasse between Northwest Broadcasting and
DirecTV late Friday
as evidence of the problem, as well as the fact that the Sinclair/Time Warner
extension only lasts until Jan. 14.
"After making 2010 a record year for viewer blackouts,
broadcasters will ring in 2011 with more of the same, blacking out viewers in
four markets and threatening to black out millions more viewers across the
nation," ATVA said.
At press time early Saturday that impasse appeared to
continue, with one of the Northwest stations, Fox affiliate KAYU-TV Spokane,
displaying an online alert telling viewers they could watch over the air.
Other markets affected include Binghamton, N.Y.; Medford, Ore.; Yakima, Wash.;
and Laredo, Texas.
"[W]hile we are pleased that Sinclair and Time Warner
Cable have agreed to an extension of negotiations, the threat of a blackout remains," ATVA
said in a statement. "The FCC cannot act soon enough in the New Year to
follow through on its pledge to revise outdated rules and protect consumers. Congress
should also continue to monitor progress. In the meantime, broadcasters
should make a New Year's resolution to stop their bullying tactics."
ATVA members include both Time Warner Cable and
DirecTV, as well as a host of others including Charter, Cablevision, Dish,
Discovery, AT&T, the American Cable Association and others.