Mediacom Seeks Emergency FCC Order in Sinclair Station Fight

Cable operator Mediacom turned to the Federal Communications Commission for help in its retransmission-consent fight with Sinclair Broadcasting Group stations, seeking an order to keep carrying the stations on its systems while trying to reach a deal.

Sinclair wants Mediacom to pay cash to retransmit the signals of 26 of its stations in the cable operator’s markets, primarily in Iowa and small towns outside major cities. Mediacom is willing to pay for the right to carry half the stations, all of them affiliates of the Big Four networks. The operator is unwilling to pay to carry 13 stations affiliated with The CW or MyNetworkTV, which the company characterizes as “unproven networks.”

Mediacom contends that Sinclair is not negotiating in good faith, particularly because of a deal it alleges Sinclair has with satellite TV providers. Mediacom charges that the “bounty payment” agreement pays the broadcaster a fee for every cable subscriber that defects to satellite TV in a retransmission-consent dispute.