Comcast Lends Mediacom A Hand

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Comcast Corp. may be pre-occupied with other more pressing matters - i.e. its looming deal with NBC Universal  - but the cable giant took the time last week to help out a smaller operator, filing comments in support of Mediacom Communications' pending action against Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Mediacom filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission in October, asking the agency to allow it to continue to carry Sinclair stations while it negotiates new retrans agreements - which are set to expire at the end of the year. In addition, Mediacom has asked the FCC to block Sinclair from negotiating retransmission consent agreements for stations where it has a Local Marketing Agreement. Mediacom contends that the LMAs do not constitute ownership of a station and therefore should not be allowed to negotiate for stations it does not own.
In an ex parte comment filed with the FCC on Nov. 25, Comcast agreed with Mediacom's stance on LMAs, adding, "Insofar as Comcast is aware, neither Congress nor the Commission has embraced the view that LMAs or similar arrangements may be used to transfer from one broadcast licensee to another the right to negotiate retransmission consent agreements."
Earlier last month two other groups -- the American Cable Association and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association  -- also filed comments in support of Mediacom.