Buckeye in Sinclair’s Bull’s-Eye on Retrans

WASHINGTON — Sinclair Broadcasting has told the Federal Communications Commission an amendment to Buckeye CableSystem’s pending retransmissionconsent complaint is frivolous and off the mark, and the agency should not expedite it.

In a letter to the commission last week, a copy of which was supplied to Multichannel News, Sinclair said its press release announcing that negotiations had broken off and a resolution would not be forthcoming anytime soon was not an act of bad-faith bargaining, but instead a response to the FCC’s general request that parties notify viewers of the status of negotiations.

“The commission has made it clear that MPVDs and broadcasters alike will not be required to engage in an unending procession of extended retransmission consent negotiations,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair’s WNWO-TV in Toledo, Ohio, has been off Buckeye’s system since last December, after the two parties failed to strike a retrans deal.

Sinclair said that the FCC should proceed on regular order by putting Buckeye’s request for relief on public notice and collect the appropriate pleadings.

Buckeye CableSystem had asked the FCC to speed the process, amending its complaint with a copy of the press release, which it said was clear evidence Sinclair was not negotiating in good faith.

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.