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Sen. Markey Makes 'Patriot-ic' Push for CBS-Dish Retrans Settlement

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) says the retrans impasse between CBS and Dish -- CBS stations are off the satellite service in major markets as the big Thanksgiving holiday viewing window opens -- needs to get settled ASAP, particularly given that his hometown football team, the New England Patriots, could be blacked out.

The Patriots meet the Miami Dolphins on CBS Sunday (Nov. 26) at 1 p.m.

“These contract disputes between Dish and CBS will make a lot of fans frustrated when they tune into the Patriots on Sunday and see nothing but a blank screen,” Markey said in a statement.

Related: As Dish Battle Rages, Charter Could Be CBS’ Next Big Retrans Fight, Analyst Says

He said he was not taking sides, just saying he didn't want viewers to be sidelined for the big game. “I make no representations as to the merits of either side’s position, but hope for Patriots fans' sake that a quick resolution can get our team back on Dish customers' screens in time to see this AFC East rivalry game on Sunday.”

Frequently it is the lack of access to big-ticket sports, like pro and college football, that gets Capitol Hill urging swift settlements of carriage disputes or local-market modifications for the sake of their hometown constituents.

At press time CBS was saying the two sides remained far apart. CBS stations have been off Dish since Monday (Nov. 20).

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.