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FCC gets caught in crossfire of Fox and Cablevision fight

With less than five hours before their current contract expires, News Corp.'s Fox and Cablevision Systems Corp. seem to be more interested in taking shots at each other than trying to strike a new deal that will keep Fox channels on Cablevision homes.

At issue is a new deal for Cablevision to continue carrying Fox stations WNYW and WWOR in New York on its systems, which reach over 3 million subscribers in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region.

Late Friday afternoon, the Federal Communications Commission, which usually tries to steer clear of these fights, encouraged both sides to extend the current deal to Tuesday and accept mediation to resolve the dispute.

But  that's as far as the agency went. Although there were reports that the FCC offered to act as mediator in the dispute, when asked if that was the case a spokeswoman for the agency said, "No." 

Indeed, there seems to be debate between Cablevision and News Corp. as to whether the agency has the clout to mediate such a dispute or force both sides to accept arbitration from a third party.

A Cablevision spokesman said the company accepts the FCC's offer to extend the current deal and added that the operator believes the agency has the power to order mediation. A Fox spokesman countered by citing an FCC statement in a previous programming dispute that said the "commission does not have the authority to require the parties to submit to binding arbitration." 

Congress is also turning up the heat on both companies and the FCC. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) were critical of Fox for not agreeing to mediation or extending the talks. Israel said the FCC should weigh in on the dispute.

On the Fox side, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) sent a letter to the FCC that countered: "The parties should negotiate the terms of their agreement without government influence."

-- Joe Flint

For the record: The headline of this post was changed from "FCC gets caught in middle of Fox and Cablevision fight" to "FCC gets caught in crossfire of Fox and Cablevision fight" to better reflect the content of the post.


Comments () | Archives (6)

Fox, NBC, ABC CBS and the rest of these clowns don't get it. Like the RIAA, they don't get it. When a network station plays, your advertisers support your broadcasts. The more advertising revenue, the better off the networks are. These folks should be paying cable companies to carry their signal!

The RIAA's model is so far broken, you wonder why the sales of recordings hasn't remained constant. I'd rather buy a CD than listen to the trash on the radio, especially when a radio station has to pay for the privilege. Ever hear fo free advertising?

What a joke.

Naturally Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) would weigh in on the side of Fox (News Corp).. they after all were a political contributor to his 2007-8 campaign.
It's amazing what $3,000 will buy in regards to a Congressman.
It is also my understanding that Rep. Butterfield is also being investigated by The House ethics committee and the Office of Congressional Ethics for misspending government per diem while abroad* according to http://www.citizensforethics.org/under-investigation#Butterfield

So I think the FCC should dismiss his statement: "The parties should negotiate the terms of their agreement without government influence." as one bought and paid for by Mr Murdock. The FCC should step in and do their job and force both parties to binding arbitration. These stations are after all part of our PUBLIC airwaves and Mr. Murdock's News Corp had been granted government waivers allowing him to operate two networks within the same TV market. For him to use the public as pawns in his effort to extort more money from a carrier is outrageous!

Is this how NewsCorp plans to pay for their million dollar campaign donations? How come other content providers are not caught up in the same greed? Makes me wonder.....

FOX should take it's signal to Russia and tell them they want an 80 million dollar raise over there 70 million fee and see what happens to the leaders of FOX. If FOX wants that much increase, let them broadcast to open antennas and see how much of that increase they can raise from the public.

Big corporations lose sight of the public resolve not to pay more for services in the worst economic conditions probably since the great depression. Any increase would be handed down to the public by cablevision. So the end result is Murdock plays the bank robber cablevision the bank teller and we lose our savings again and again and again! Murdock should take a lesson from the baseball strike, if you take away to much people will find alternate means of entertainment. He will ultimately lose commercial revenue since you don't get paid for dead air space when you aren't being broadcast. I was disappointed to find the fox news channel unaffected. It wouldn't break my heart to see Beck, O Rielly, and Hannity without their hate forum.

This is a joke. Fox five and my 9 are free channels. Why should we be punished because the big wigs are greety. Give us back our Free TV now. It's bad enough we have to pay close to $100.00 a month just to watch TV. This is getting to be like Russia where the government tells them what to do.


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