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LIN: Mediacom Focused on Politics, Not Public - Broadcasting & Cable

LIN: Mediacom Focused on Politics, Not Public

Bites back after being accused of "dilatory tactics"
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Lin Media says cable operator Mediacom is more interested in advancing its political agenda than moving retrans negotiations to a deal that would put LIN's TV stations back on its cable systems.

In the beginning of September, LIN stations in a number of Mediacom markets went dark on its systems after the two sides failed to reach a new carriage deal. Mediacom has twice written the FCC asking it to step in. The most recent letter, sent Tuesday (Sept. 13) from Mediacom counsel Seth Davidson, said that LIN had not responded to its most recent, increased offer, sent last week, adding that LIN's "dilatory tactics clearly represent a decision on its part to prolong the pain it is inflicting on consumers in order to increase LIN's leverage against Mediacom."

"Mediacom's letter accuses LIN Media of 'dilatory tactics . . . to increase LIN's leverage against Mediacom,'" said LIN, in a statement to B&C/Multi on Wednesday. "We have not been 'dilatory' in any sense.  We responded to Mediacom's last proposal within seven days. Mediacom took ten days to respond to our prior offer, and Mediacom let the prior deal lapse without responding at all to the offer we had on the table. Mediacom appears to be much more interested in waging a PR battle to advance its political agenda in Washington than in closing a deal that would restore service to its subscribers."

Mediacom is a member of the American Televison Alliance, which petitioned the FCC to reform retrans including requiring the FCC to keep stations on during retrans impasses. The FCC is currently preparing proposed rule tweaks in response to that petition, including clarifying what constitutes good faith bargaining, but has signaled it does not have the authority to mandate such standstills, as broadcasters have argued. Mediacom and other cable ops disagree strongly on that point.

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