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Cox to File FCC Complaint vs. Nexstar

In the midst of a nearly three-week-long retransmission-consent dispute with Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc., Cox Communications Inc. plans to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday.

The MSO -- which has already lost carriage of two TV stations and may lose more by the end of the month -- is claiming that Nexstar isn’t negotiating in good faith, according to Cox spokesman David Grabert.

“They haven’t agreed to meet with us at all on this matter,” he said Tuesday. “That’s the main issue in the complaint.”

Nexstar, seeking cash for carriage for its TV stations, has been in a retransmission-consent battle with both Cox and Cable One Inc., pulling signals for several of its stations from both cable operators effective Jan. 1.

So far, Cox has lost NBC affiliate KRBC in Abilene, Texas, and CBS affiliate KLST in San Angelo, Texas. And effective Jan. 30, Cox’s systems in the Carthage, Mo., area will lose the same stations Cable One lost Jan. 1 -- namely KODE and KSNF in Joplin, Mo.

“Our goal still is to have [Nexstar] meet us at the negotiating table,” Grabert said. “Obviously, we want to resolve this situation for our customers. We’d like to avoid losing the additional stations that are scheduled to go dark at the end of the month. And hopefully, the FCC can succeed where we’ve failed.”

Nexstar chief operating officer Duane Lammers said he’s reviewed the FCC rules and “just because we don’t come to terms doesn’t mean we’re negotiating in bad faith.”

Lammers charged, “If anybody hasn’t negotiated in good faith, it’s [Cox]. They haven’t even made an offer. I think the commission will look at this and look at the fact pattern, and I think we’ll be fine.”