Jan 16, 2014
06:38 AMThe Connecticut Story
Still No CBS for Many Connecticut Cable TV Customers as Battle Intensifies
Register Citizen photo
A looped message displaying on WFSB after the channel was pulled because of a contract dispute with Cablevision.
Cablevision has filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission charging that WFSB’s corporate parent is violating federal law by negotiating in bad faith in the ongoing dispute over carrying the Rocky Hill-based television station on Cablevision’s Connecticut systems.
The 35-page complaint filed with the FCC on Friday comes two weeks after Iowa-based Meredith Corp. removed WFSB from Cablevision systems in Fairfield, Litchfield and New Haven counties. The FCC requires broadcasters to engage in good faith negotiations with cable television system and other programming distributors when trying to achieve retransmission consent agreements, said Kelly McAndrew, a spokeswoman for Cablevision.
In a statement issued by the Bethpage, N.Y.-based cable system operator, Cablevision said, “the FCC should direct Meredith Corporation to immediately cease its bad faith negotiation practices and separate the negotiations for carriage of WFSB in Litchfield and New Haven Counties from those regarding carriage in Fairfield County where there is already another CBS station.”
“This would lead to an agreement to return CBS programming to Cablevision customers in Litchfield and New Haven Counties,” Cablevision’s statement reads in part. “Meredith has rejected Cablevision’s numerous offers agreeing to pay its asking price for the retransmission of its WFSB Channel 3 CBS in Litchfield and New Haven Counties. Instead, WFSB insists on conditioning any retransmission deal in those areas to Cablevision’s carriage and payment for WFSB in Fairfield County, where customers already receive and pay for another CBS affiliate.”
Meredith officials responded with a statement of their own, saying that Cablevision “is choosing to waste its customers’ money by filing a nuisance complaint or lawsuit.”
“For what Cablevision is paying its high-priced New York and D.C. lawyers, Cablevision could instead be providing all of its Connecticut customers with WFSB’s award-winning local news and CBS primetime and sports programming,” the Meredith statement reads in part. “It is Cablevision that is acting in bad faith. Earlier this week, Meredith made a compelling offer that would enable Cablevision to immediately return WFSB to its customers.”
Cablevision claims that Meredith officials rejected a counter offer that it made Friday to settle the dispute.