Slossberg pushes FCC to intervene in Cablevision, Fox stand-off
State Senator Gayle S. Slossberg (D-Milford) held a press conference today where she called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to intervene in the ongoing stalemate between Cablevision, the cable television provider in her district, and Tribune Broadcasting Company, owners of FOX, the network most notable these days for its broadcasting rights for Major League Baseball’s World Series and many National Football League games.
Slossberg said the months-long impasse — based on the inability of the parties to negotiate a new contract — has resulted in a blackout of all FOX programming, including these very popular professional sports events, for constituents who are Cablevision subscribers.
She wrote to the Federal Communications Commissions and asked for a remedy.
“I write to you today on behalf of the 50,000 viewers in Connecticut, half of whom are in my senatorial district, who since August have not been able to view certain NFL games and, as of last night, the World Series, as a result of the impasse between Cablevision and Tribune Broadcasting Company,” Senator Slossberg wrote. “As Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Commissioner Copps accurately noted, ‘The FCC [is] intended first and foremost to be a consumer protection agency…’. It has utterly failed in that mission.”
Slossberg’s letter goes on to suggest the FCC amend its rules and take an active role in the contract dispute, either as mediator or arbitrator. She also suggests that consumers be permitted to register their complaints directly with the FCC.
“Currently, only the media parties to the negotiations have the ability to file a complaint alleging violation of good faith bargaining that entirely excludes consumers from the process,” Slossberg said. “It would make a lot more sense to provide consumers the ability to file a complaint and request an investigation from the FCC.”
“It is unconscionable to punish consumers for the failure of these media companies to come to an agreement,” she added. “You are the agency charged with protecting consumers. You cannot sit by any longer while average Americans are denied the basic, simple pleasure of coming home to watch the game.”