Iowa Attorney General Sides With Mediacom Interim Carriage Request

Sends letter to FCC supporting request for interim carriage of Sinclair stations
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Iowa's
attorney general is among those who wants to make sure Mediacom cable subs
don't lose access to the Iowa Hawkeyes appearance in the Orange Bowl Jan. 4.

In
a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Attorney General Thomas Miller
asked the FCC to grant Mediacom's request for interim carriage of Sinclair
stations beyond the Dec. 31 end of the carriage contract if the two sides
cannot come to terms on a new deal or agree to interim carriage themselves.
Sinclair CEO David Smith has already rejected a Mediacom offer of a 90-day
extension, countering that he would agree to a one-year extension, which
Mediacom does not favor.

Miller
cited the complaint filed by Mediacom charging Sinclair with not bargaining in
good faith and unfair leverage in negotiating both for owned stations and
managed stations in the same market. "Because of the seriousness of the
issues, and the imminent loss of transmission," he wrote in a letter dated
Dec. 29, Miller asked the FCC "to grant interim carriage rights"
pending the outcome of the complaint, he said.

Iowa
stations that could be pulled from Mediacom systems include the Fox affiliate
in Des Moines, and Fox and CBS affils in Cedar Rapids.

As
of about 5 p.m. there was no deal, and an FCC spokesperson said the commission,
which has been pushing the two sides to resolve the issue, had gotten a
"no progress" report about 3 p.m.

"The
loss of transmission of these networks on Jan. 1, 2010, will present an
irreparable loss to Iowans interested in sports broadcasting and other major
programming," Miller wrote.

Smith
has countered that argument in other venues by saying that the game is still
available over the air or on DISH or DirecTV.

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