Skip to main content

Sinclair, Mediacom Strike Carriage Deal

After months of negotiation, Sinclair has reached a retransmission agreement with cable operator Mediacom, according to a release from the cable company.

The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, means that stations serving about 700,000 Mediacom subs will be restored immediately, which means before Sunday's Super Bowl.

The deal followed word that the FCC was unlikely to intervene to force arbitration on the parties, despite urgings to do so from some powerful legislators.

Mediacom had asked the FCC to intervene, arguing that Sinclair had negotiated in bad faith, or more to the point was not negotiating, and that at the least the FCC should restore the stations while the commission decided what, if anything, to do. The FCC said no on both accounts, with the Media Bureau finding Sinclair had not argued in bad faith and that the commission did not have the authority to force arbitration absent a finding of fault with Sinclair.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin had also signaled that he supported the Media Bureau and didn't think the FCC had authority to weigh in, though he had urged the parties to resolve the dispute or submit to FCC arbitration.
Mediacom favored that arbitration route, while Sinclair did not.

Sinclair has said all along that it was simply a case of Mediacom not paying what Sinclair's TV station signals were worth.

"I am pleased that Mediacom and Sinclair have reached an agreement," said Martin late Friday. "This is very good news for their customers."

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.