Genachowski to Fox/Cablevision: Time for Gamesmanship is Over

FCC Chairman "deeply troubled" over lack of progress
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FCC Chairman
Julius Genachowski had not commented on the new retrans bill being
proffered by Sen. John Kerry, but he took both Fox and Cablevision to
task equally Monday on the same issue, essentially
taking them on the regulatory equivalent of a trip to the woodshed.

Having phoned the CEOs of both companies, Genachowski said in a statement
that he was "deeply troubled that Cablevision and Fox are spending more
time attacking each other through ads and lobbyists
than sitting down at the negotiating table. The time for petty
gamesmanship is over."

In the calls, he said that he "reiterated the importance of reaching a deal, as many companies have done before."

He also
suggested the FCC would be trying to determine whether either side was
not negotiating in good faith, a point at which the FCC is empowered to
step in per the retransmission consent law.

"I
reminded the companies that they share responsibility for consumer
disruption, and that they shouldn't punish consumers because of their
unwillingness to reach a deal," he said. "I also insisted that they
negotiate in good faith.  We will continue to scrutinize
their actions very closely."

That
statement came only about a half hour before the start of the next
National League Playoff game featuring the Phillies. Fox's Philadelphia
station, which is carrying the game, has been off Cablevision
since Oct. 15, along with stations in New York and New Jersey.

"We are
continuing to work to ensure that consumers understand all of their
options, which are outlined at FCC.gov."

The FCC has pointed out that
viewers can switch pay services or get the games off
the air.

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