CBS Wants FCC To Steer Clear Of Retrans Battle

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CBS executives were visiting the FCC this week trying to persuade the commission not to intervene in the retransmission consent negotiations between Sinclair and Mediacom.

The commission strongly recommended, and Mediacom seconded the idea, that the two parties to submit to binding arbitration, but Sinclair said no.
Mediacom has asked the commission to force arbitration and is awaiting an answer. It has also asked for a full-commission review of a Media Bureau decision rejecting Mediacom's claim that Sinclair was bargaining in bad faith.
The Media Bureau says that absent a finding of fault, it cannot require arbitration, but Mediacom disagrees, with some backing by Iowa legislators--state and national--hearing it from constituents. some 250,000 Iowans were affected when Sinclair pulled its stations from Mediacom systems Jan. 5.
The message from CBS to the FCC this week was that the retransmission consent process isn't broke and doesn't need fixing. If the FCC steps in, CBS executives argue, it could set a precedent for future, and unwanted, intervention in what broadcasters say is simply a business negotiation.