FCC Rejects Allbritton Retrans Bad Faith Petition

Says disagreement over price is not bad faith; declines to address notice issue
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The FCC denied on Friday a retrans negotiation complaint
petition filed by WJLA-TV Washington owner Allbritton against Shentel
Communications.

Allbritton, back in January, had filed an emergency petition
seeking a finding of bad faith negotiations and for failure to notify customers
of the impasse.

Allbritton had claimed that Shentel had offered terms, then
rejected Allbritton's acceptance of that offer, then "dropped" WJLA
without sufficient notice.

Shentel had countered that an Allbritton counteroffer mooted
the previous one it had accepted.

In rejecting the petition, the FCC pointed out that the
retrans impasse had been about price and, as it has said before, that is not
indicative of a lack of good faith on either part. The FCC said that once
Allbritton made a counteroffer, Shentel was not bound by the original offer.

The FCC declined to address the notice violation portion of
the complaint, but warned Shentel that if it did not provide the 30 days' notice
it is in violation of the rules, and that while it may not have enforced the
notice requirement religiously, that does not mean it can't if it chooses to.

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