Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) called FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Dec. 22 to encourage him to step in to keep Sinclair Broadcast Group’s signals on Mediacom systems if the two do not resolve their retransmission consent dispute by Dec. 31.
In particular, Loebsack is concerned that his constituents with cable could lose access to Sinclair CBS affiliate KGAN, which is carrying the Orange Bowl Jan. 5 between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
According to a statement from the Congressman’s office, Loebsack encouraged Genachowski “to help protect the interests of Iowans.” The FCC has yet to act on an emergency petition filed by Mediacom for interim carriage while the FCC considers its retransmission consent complaint against Sinclair for allegedly not negotiating in good faith.
Loebsack wrote the commission last month as part of the Iowa congressional delegation saying that up to 1 million Iowans would “lose access” to key stations, though there is still the option of over-the-air reception.
AND: Mediacom placed a full page ad in Wednesday’s Iowa City Press-Citizen. The ad was signed by the entire Iowa congressional delegation, including both senators, Gov. Culver, several state senators and state reps, UI President Sally Mason, Free Press, Rainbow Push Coalition, and other groups and elected officials. Here is an excerpt of the ad:
STOP TAKING ADVANTAGE OF IOWANS
“Enough is enough. Sinclair Broadcast Group is the owner of the FOX (KFXA) station and the CBS (KGAN) station in Cedar Rapids. Three years ago, following a very nasty public dispute, Mediacom reluctantly agreed to pay Sinclair an exorbitant amount for the right to carry KGAN.
Unfortunately, greed is alive and well and the executives at Sinclair are once again trying to take advantage of everyday people right here in Iowa. Sinclair is using deplorable scare tactics to force Mediacom, and you, our customers, to pay over 50% more in 2010 than we paid Sinclair in 2009…”
Now would be a very good time to write to the FCC and complain about this and all of the other things Sinclair Broasting has done to subvert the public interest (see last night’s KCRG story), that in our view are way worse than merely holding a football game hostage for money. (Even though the staff here at BFIA are definitely rabid Hawkeye fans…Go, Hawks!)