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Lautenberg Blasts Fox

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
criticized Fox Friday for not wanting to submit its retrans dispute to
arbitration, and called on the broadcaster to keep its signals on the
air past the midnight Friday (Oct.15) deadline.

"It is inexcusable that Fox would
rather hold consumers hostage than engage in further negotiations," said
Lautenberg.  "Fox should reconsider its decision immediately and keep
its signal on the air for Cablevision customers
this weekend."

That came after reports the FCC had
also encouraged both Fox and Cablevision to keep the signals on the air
and submit to third-party mediation. An FCC source confirmed it was
urging keeping the signals on and getting help
with resolving the dispute, but said the FCC was not offering to act as
the arbitrator.

Fox said Friday that it "appreciates
the requests for binding arbitration" and shares the concern for
protecting viewers and access to programming, but that Cablevision needs
to " stop hiding behind a call for binding arbitration
and negotiate in good faith."

Lautenberg is a long-time critic of Fox's WWOR, one of the stations involved in the dispute.