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FCC Chairman Genachowski urges Fox and Time Warner Cable to keep signals on

December 31, 2009 |  1:59 pm

After sitting on the sidelines, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said he has "urged Fox and Time Warner Cable to agree to a temporary extension of carriage if they do not come to terms on a new carriage agreement today." News Corp.'s Fox and Time Warner Cable are in a bitter dispute over how much the cable company should pay Fox to carry its local TV stations. The current deal between the two companies expires at midnight tonight.

GENACHOWSKI The FCC's Genachowski, no doubt, felt the need to issue a statement on the matter after Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the influential Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communication, Technology and the Internet, said Wednesday that if Fox pulled its networks from Time Warner Cable, he would "ask the FCC to intervene and mandate continued carriage."

At the same time, in commenting on a similar carriage dispute between Sinclair Broadcast Group and cable company Mediacom in which both sides have agreed to extend their current agreement, Genachowski seemed to indicate that he was not looking to have the regulatory agency make it a practice to get involved in these spats. "Assuming that the parties negotiate in good faith during the extension, therefore, I will not seek a further continuation of carriage absent a new agreement between the parties," he said.

-- Joe Flint

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Photo: FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images