ACA, TWC Try To Block Mission/Stainless Deal

The American Cable Association and Time warner Cable have asked the FCC to either block or grant conditional approval of Mission Broadcasting's purchase of two stations from Stainless Broadcasting.

Saying that Nexstar Broadcasting effectively controls Mission through sharing agreements, ACA and TWC argue that the deal would then give Nexstar de facto control of three of the Big Four affiliated TV stations in the Binghamton, NY, market.

As with other deals, ACA and TWC are concerned particularly about the ability to coordinate retransmission consent negotiations.

As they have asked with similar petitions to block or condition some recent supergroup deals, ACA and TWC want the FCC's Media Bureau to refer the deal review to the full commission, so that the commissioners can weigh in on the issue.

"Although other recent transactions have presented similar threats, including the aggregation of broadcaster market power and collusive retransmission consent negotiations," they say, "the instant transaction presents a heightened threat of such harm, and, significantly, the Commission has never squarely addressed the core concerns set forth below."

The FCC has pointed out that its rules do not prohibit coordinated negotiations or joint agreements, though it could be reconsidering that as part of its overdue media ownership review.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.