Mediacom, LIN TV end retrans blackout

Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 18-10-2011

Cable MSO Mediacom Communications has resolved its dispute with LIN TV over retransmission fees, ending a six-week-long blackout.
Tom Larsen, Mediacom group vice president of legal and public affairs, told FierceCable that the cableco is now paying more for the right to carry LIN TV programming in Florida, Michigan, Indiana and Virginia.
However, LIN TV characterized the deal—terms were not disclosed—as equitable. "This fair resolution ensures that we can continue to provide top quality news, sports, entertainment and other local programming that is most important to you,” said the broadcaster.
FCC is weighing whether it should get more involved in the retransmission negotiation process, with a reform of its rules. However, it has appeared reluctant to do so. That’s something that the National Association of Broadcasters has unsurprisingly insisted is the correct path. Others, equally as unsurprisingly, disagree, saying that retrains spats threaten consumers’ right to free-to-air content.
"Decisive action by the Federal Communications Commission is needed soon because approximately 900 independent cable operators have to conclude retransmission consent agreements by Dec. 31, 2011, or face TV station blackouts on a massive scale, especially in smaller markets like Topeka, Kan., where one broadcaster just gained control of the retrans rights to the ABC, NBC, and FOX affiliates now carried by 10 ACA members in that market," American Cable Association President Matt Polka said, in a statement.