Public Knowledge Calls for Interim Carriage in Retrans Disputes

With hours until deals expire, group is among numerous voices pushing for FCC to mandate carriage of Fox on TWC
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

Public
knowledge President Gigi Sohn said Thursday the FCC should step in to mandate
carriage if Time Warner/Fox and Mediacom/Sinclair retransmission consent
disputes are not resolved by tonight (Dec. 31). Mediacom and Sinclair reached
an interim agreement that runs through Jan. 8 shortly after Public Knowledge
released its statement.

That
is when the contracts expire and the stations of Fox and Sinclair will be
removed from the cable systems unless a deal or agreement on interim carriage
is struck.

Sohn
said in a statement that both stand-offs would benefit from interim carriage,
but also said the impasse demonstrates why Congress and the FCC need to revisit
the retrans system to make sure viewers are not disenfranchised.

Both
Time Warner and Mediacom support interim carriage deals, while Fox does not,
and Sinclair has said only if it it a year extension and at the current asking
price that has stalled negotiations. Mediacom has said it would back a 90-day
extension at that price.

While
she was at it, Sohn made a pitch for a bunch of reforms she would like to see,
including "1) mandatory unbundling of programming; 2) elimination of the
prohibition against cable and satellite operators importing "distant"
broadcast signals;  3) transparency for all retransmission consent
contracts; and 4) a requirement that retransmission consent licenses be on
reasonable and non-discriminatory terms."

According
to a source, Sohn also taped an interview Thursday about the feuds for ABC's
World News Tonight, slated for airing Thursday as the clock ticks down to the
dropping of signals rather than that Time Square ball. 

Related