Mediacom takes retransmission reform fight to White House
Mediacom Communications has taken its push to reform the retransmission-consent rules to the White House, hoping that the executive branch will urge the FCC to reform rules that have allowed broadcasters to pull stations from cable operators that resist demands for increased fees.
By noon ET today, more than 7,000 people had signed an electronic petition on the White House's website that calls for reform of retransmission-consent rules. The petition was created by Mediacom VP of legal and public affairs Tom Larsen on Nov. 8. Since the petition hasn't reached the minimum threshold of 25,000 signatures within 30 days that the White House requires for an official response, Larsen says he plans to create a new petition.
Larsen told FierceCable Thursday that he created the petition in hopes of getting the White House to address an issue that he said hasn't been a priority at Congress and the FCC. Mediacom systems lost the signals of LIN TV (NYSE: TVL) stations for six weeks earlier this year, after the MSO fought demands that it pay increased retransmission fees. With several contracts cable operators have with broadcasters set to expire at the end of the year, Larsen said the issue merits a bigger response in Washington.
"We were having trouble getting the attention of the FCC on this issue. We're having trouble getting members of Congress to focus on this issue. One way to get their attention might be to alert their superiors," Larsen said.
Larsen said it took a few weeks for other cable operators and subscribers to learn about the petition, noting that it received about 4,500 signatures in the last week. Larsen will look to crack the mark of 25,000 signatures soon with a new petition, which would prompt the White House to address the issue of retransmission consent. Mediacom has also created a website, MediacomOnYourSide, where it is looking to generate support for retransmission-consent reform.
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