FCC Fines Cable One

The Federal Communications Commission Friday fined Cable One Inc. $20,000 for unlawfully bringing a Tulsa, Okla., TV station into a market where the cable operator is engaged in a 10-month-old retransmission-consent dispute.

The fine stems from the FCC’s finding in October that Phoenix-based Cable One had violated federal network-nonduplication rules by offering KJRH, a Tulsa NBC affiliate, and its “Peacock Network” programming in the Joplin, Mo./Pittsburg, Kan., market.

Cable One has been carrying KJRH in that Joplin market, where the cable company is in a retransmission-consent battle with Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. As part of that fight, Cable One had to drop NBC affiliate KSNF and ABC affiliate KODE in Joplin -- which are Nexstar-owned or managed stations -- earlier this year.

Nexstar had charged that Cable One was violating FCC regulations by carrying KJRH without blocking out its NBC programming, failing to protect the rights of KSNF. Federal network-nonduplication rules permit a TV station like KSNF to bar a local cable system from carrying broadcast-network programming provided by an affiliate station licensed to a different market, like KJRH.

Cable One couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, but Nexstar chief operating officer Duane Lammers said, “We’re pretty pleased.”

Even in advance of the FCC’s decision against it, on Sept. 21, Cable One began providing “the required protection” for KSNF by blacking out the NBC programming on KJRH.