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Sinclair, Mediacom Resolve Retransmission Dispute

Companies’ extension of negotiations pays off in agreement

Sinclair Broadcast Group and Mediacom Communications have reached a one-year retransmission consent agreement, the companies said Thursday.

Their existing agreement had been extended through Friday night in order to give the parties more time to negotiate an extension.
The deal means more than 600,000 Mediacom subscribers in 15 markets will continue to receive the signals of 22 TV stations owned and/or operated by Sinclair.
Mediacom also agreed to drop its FCC complaint that Sinclair had not negotiated in good faith.
Sinclair president-CEO David Smith said, “We are very happy with the outcome of the negotiations, which includes an acceptable economic arrangement. We are pleased that our viewers and Mediacom’s customers will continue to receive the important and popular programming carried on our stations, such as the local news, sports and network shows as ‘CSI,’ ‘American Idol’ and ’24.’”
Sinclair’s television group reaches about 22% of U.S. television households and is affiliated with all of the major networks.
Tom Larsen, Mediacom’s vice president of public and legal affairs, told Broadcasting & Cable: “The fact that the deal is done is good. We wanted to make sure that this [programming] didn’t go off the air.”
However, Larsen added, “We think the retrans process is broken and are going to seek to have that reformed in the next year, working with people like Sen. John Kerry to help reform it.”
In a statement, William T. Lake, chairman of the FCC’s Media Bureau, said: “Today Sinclair and Mediacom have completed their retransmission consent negotiations by reaching a new agreement prior to the expiration of their extended agreement on January 8. I am pleased that these companies have agreed on new retransmission terms, as contemplated by the governing statute. Their agreement will prevent the disruption and frustration that Mediacom customers would have experienced if Sinclair stations were no longer available over Mediacom systems.”