Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Goliath Doesn't Have to Win

What we have here are strong-arm tactics, "Sinclair, Mediacom huddle in D.C." (Des Moines Register)

The December 1 deadline looms. Sinclair Broadcasting will pull the plug on its relationship with Mediacom's cable retransmission on 22 stations throughout the country.... including KDSM-Fox in the Des Moines and KGAN-CBS in the Cedar Rapids viewing areas (450,000 Iowa households).... unless Mediacom caves in to demands that will increase subscription costs.

Basically Sinclair is saying, pay us the millions we demand or our 22 stations on the Mediacom network go black. Mediacom is saying, Sinclair's demands are exorbitant, devoid of market realities and not in line with similar agreements Mediacom has successfully negotiated with over 40 other national and regional broadcast groups representing over 475 stations nationwide.

But, all of these figures and arguments pale, when placed against the blackmailing reality..... the affected customers of the 22 stations involved represent less than 3% of Sinclair's national viewership, but over 50% of Mediacom's total subscriber base.

Not a fair fight.

So, can we expect D.C. to weigh in for Mediacom and keeping consumer costs in line?.... or, on the side of the bloated corporate Sinclair? Only Pollyanna would expect the Bush administration's FCC to do the right thing for the little guy, unless the little guy (who votes) fights.

Have you been wondering why the name Sinclair Broadcasting sounds familiar? In 2004 when Nightline decided to pay tribute to the 721 soldiers killed in Iraq, Sinclair decided to not allow the eight ABC stations it owned to broadcast the program. Sinclair's reason, "The action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq." Seems to be just one political agenda here, Sinclair's.

Sinclair also ordered all 62 of its affiliate stations to preempt prime time programming to air Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, a documentary critical of presidential candidate John Kerry.... to air just two weeks before the November 2004 election. Yes, Sinclair knows all about political agendas.

Mediacom has filed a denied anti-trust lawsuit against Sinclair, but the appeal won't be decided before the December 1 deadline.

In the meantime, what can be done about this blatant gouging?

Call the FCC (1-888-CALL-FCC), send an email ( ) or go to the FCC website ( ) .... call the station managers, in Des Moines: Mike Wilson 515 287-1717 or Cedar Rapids: Mike Sullivan 319 395-9060.

Make your feelings known. Otherwise, another large unchecked chiseling corporation will be chipping away at your pocketbook and your freedom of choice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bravo! This the most cogent analysis of the issue I've read. Thanks for framing the issue so clearly.