Legislators Ask FCC to Intervene in Sinclair-Mediacom Dispute

Iowa and Alabama lawmakers fear retrans impasse will disrupt college bowl broadcasts if commission does not step in

Related: Kerry: Retrans Impasse Must Not Interrupt Football

Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) called FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Dec. 22 to encourage him to step in to keep Sinclair Broadcast Group's signals on Mediacom systems if the two do not resolve their retransmission consent dispute by Dec. 31.

In particular, Loebsack is concerned that his constituents with cable could lose access to

Fox affiliate KFXA in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which is carrying the Orange Bowl Jan. 5 between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

According to a statement from the Congressman's office, Loebsack encouraged Genachowski "to help protect the interests of Iowans." The FCC has yet to act on an emergency petition filed by Mediacom for interim carriage while the FCC considers its retransmission consent complaint against Sinclair for allegedly not negotiating in good faith.

Loebsack wrote the commission last month as part of the Iowa congressional delegation saying that up to 1 million Iowans would "lose access" to key stations, though there is still the option of over-the-air reception.

Loebsack was not the only legislator weighing in on the issue. In a letter to the chairman dated Dec. 22, Alabama Republican Senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby and Alabama Republican Rep. Jo Bonner pointed out that "thousands" of Alabama fans might not get to see the Bowl Championship game between Alabama and Texas on Jan. 7. They said they were not taking sides in the dispute, but also said it was imperative that the FCC step in to prevent the Sinclair signal from exiting Mediacom systems, which by contract will happen Dec. 31 if a deal is not reached.