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Statement of William T. Lake, Chief, Media Bureau on Retransmission Dispute

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Released: December 31, 2009

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.


Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).



December 31, 2009
Janice Wise (202) 418-8165



I am pleased that Sinclair and Mediacom have agreed to extend their retransmission consent
agreement until midnight on January 8, 2010. In the absence of an extension, Mediacom’s cable
systems would have ceased carrying Sinclair’s broadcast television stations at midnight tonight.
The carriage negotiations between Sinclair and Mediacom came to the Commission through a
retransmission consent complaint, in which Mediacom alleged that Sinclair has failed to
negotiate retransmission consent in good faith, as required by statute. In response, Sinclair
argued that it has negotiated with Mediacom in good faith, and that the prices Sinclair has
proposed are reasonable.
We observed in discussing the statute, “[w]e believe that, by imposing the good faith obligation,
Congress intended that the Commission develop and enforce a process that ensures that
broadcasters and MVPDs meet to negotiate retransmission consent and that such negotiations are
conducted in an atmosphere of honesty, purpose and clarity of process.” See In the Matter of
Implementation of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999; Retransmission
Consent Issues: Good Faith Negotiation and Exclusivity, First Report and Order, 15 FCC Rcd
5445, 5455, ¶ 24 (2000).
Despite our circumscribed role in retransmission consent negotiations, we were pleased to help
to facilitate the parties’ concurrence in this extension when their negotiations had not produced a
new carriage agreement by today. It is our sincere hope that Sinclair and Mediacom will make
every effort to reach a retransmission consent agreement during the brief extension, to spare
consumers the disruption of losing the availability of Sinclair’s stations on Mediacom’s systems.
The extension also will have the benefit of giving consumers an additional period during which
they can take steps, if desired, to obtain access to Sinclair’s stations through other means in the
event that Sinclair and Mediacom are unable to conclude a new agreement by January 8. It is
important that all parties involved in the retransmission consent process remember that this
process of private negotiation affects important consumer interests as well as the interests of the
negotiating parties.


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