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Topeka Cable Ops Seek Help From Governor Over ‘Virtual Triopoly'

Topeka cable operators want Kansas Governor to intercede at the FCC on their behalf in opposing what they call a virtual Topeka triopoly.

The American Cable Association, which represents smaller, independent, cable operators including the signatories to the letter, asked the FCC to block or condition the deal but the commission has so far taken no action. Now those members have taken that cause to their state's top official, the former Senate Commerce Committee member.

In the letter, Mediacom, Giant Communications, Rainbow Communications, Twin Valley Communications and WTC Communications want the governor to advise the FCC to block or condition the sale of ABC affiliate KTKA-TV Topeka to PBC Broadcasting. They echo ACA arguments that Topeka's NBC affiliate and FOX affiliate are owned by New Vision Television, which has shared services agreements with PBC Broadcasting in Youngstown, Ohio, and Savannah, Ga. ACA is concerned that the sale will create a "virtual triopoly" in Topeka and "coordinate" retransmission negotiations for three of the Big four affiliates.

"As independent cable providers serving Topeka consumers, we know the FCC's failure to act will lead to significant harm to our customers. On behalf of pay-TV viewers in Topeka, the FCC must be a cop against collusion and a bulwark against blackouts," they told Brownback. "We encourage you to take action immediately and tell the FCC either to disapprove the Topeka Triopoly or approve it with meaningful consumer safeguards."