Comcast Gets Sinclair Retrans Extension

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Comcast received a retransmission-consent extension to continue carrying Sinclair Broadcast Group TV stations until March 1, the end of the February sweep period.

The nation’s largest cable company, which is in the midst of negotiating a retransmission-consent deal with Sinclair, earlier this month sent out notices to subscribers in cities where it has out-of-market Sinclair stations that it might lose those signals as early as Feb. 5.

Under Federal Communications Commission rules, Comcast couldn’t drop Sinclair’s stations in February, one of the sweeps periods when viewership is used to set ad rates.

But Comcast subscribers who are considered out-of-market aren’t covered by the FCC prohibition, which is why the cable operator would have been able to drop Sinclair’s signals in those areas in February.

But now Sinclair granted Comcast an extension to continue carrying all of its stations -- in-market and out-of-market -- until March 1.

The cable operator has just begun sending notices out to its subscribers at systems with in-market Sinclair stations that they may lose those signals March 1.

The Sinclair-Comcast negotiations involve roughly 3 million subscribers in markets such as Pittsburgh; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.; Nashville, Tenn.; Richmond, Va.; and Tampa. Fla.

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