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Mediacom Requests a Second Look from FCC

Jan 8, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Three days after being forced to drop 22 Sinclair Broadcast Group TV stations in 12 states from its cable systems, Mediacom Communications took action. First, it asked the whole Federal Communications Commissions to take a second look at its complaint that Sinclair wasn’t fairly negotiating retransmission rights.

Second, it gave out free antennas.

According to the Des Moines Register, the 4,000 antennas -needed in order to watch Fox affiliate KDSM-TV- quickly ran out, but more are being made available.

As for the FCC, Mediacom called “erroneous” a decision by the FCC’s Media Bureau that rejected its contention that Sinclair wasn’t meeting legal requirements to negotiate fairly. The Media Bureau turned down Sinclair last week, urging both companies to go to binding arbitration.

Mediacom contended that the Media Bureau first erred by not immediately referring its complaint to the whole commission and trying to make a decision itself; then by basing that decision on whether Sinclair’s request was reasonable based on what cable systems pay for cable networks rather than what they pay for local broadcast channels. It also suggested the Media Bureau hadn’t made a required determination about whether Sinclair was discriminatory in its treatment of Mediacom compared with its treatment of Mediacom rivals, and that it had made a decision that some issues in the complaint were “moot” without gathering evidence.

Sinclair did not return a call seeking comment.