Media General, Dish Drop Retrans Complaints At FCC

Media General and Dish have asked the FCC to dismiss their complaints against each other related to their just-resolved retrans fight.

The joint dismissal request, which had been expected, was filed Tuesday night (Nov. 19) with the FCC. It was made "with prejudice," which means neither party could double back and refile the complaint on the same grounds later on.

The FCC will issue a dismissal letter in the next couple of days, as it routinely does in such cases.

Dish filed an official complaint against Media General for failing to negotiate in good faith, after which Media General countered that it was Dish that was not negotiating in good faith and should be referred to the Enforcement Bureau for abuse of process and misrepresentations.

After the two settled on a new carriage contract last weekend, they were expected to drop both their complaints as part of the deal, but could not comment due to a confidentiality clause.

The FCC's ability to enforce good faith negotiations is part of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act legislation that expires at the end of next year, so new legislation could better spell out what Congress thinks the FCC's power is over retrans impasses like the one that kept Media General stations off Dish for over six weeks.

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.