Cox, LIN Retrans Spat Brewing


Another retransmission consent battle is brewing at the end of the month, this one between Cox Communications and nine LIN TV broadcast stations in five markets in the Northeast and Southern portions of the country.
LIN's contract with Cox expires on March 31 and involves ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW and MyNetworkTV affiliates in Mobile, Ala.; New Haven, Conn.; Norfolk, Va.; Providence. R.I.; and Springfield, Mass.
Both sides have said in statements that they are working toward an agreement. LIN reached a retrans agreement with Dish Network on March 13, after pulling 27 stations in 17 markets for eight days from the satellite giant.
"Please know that we are working hard to reach a new agreement with Cox so you will not lose your favorite programming," LIN stations wrote in messages to viewers on their respective web sites. "If we do not reach an agreement, by law, Cox cannot carry our television stations on its cable system."
Cox said in a statement that there are no new developments in negotiations but the MSO is working to resolve the matter.
"Cox is working hard to ensure we continue to deliver a great value in entertainment and communications services," the company said in a statement. "We are committed to keeping LIN's stations on our lineup, and we are actively working toward reaching an agreement. We do not believe that our customers should be burdened with excessive costs for a station's programming that is available for free, over-the-air. However, Cox has been providing and continues to offer reasonable compensation for the right to carry the local broadcast signals on our lineup that are popular with our customers."
In a statement, the American Television Alliance, a group of cable, satellite and telco video service providers and independent programmers calling for retrans reform, called LIN the "poster child" for changes in the retransmission consent rules.
"For the sake of viewers across the nation, we urge the FCC to move quickly on new rules that curb broadcaster bullying," ATA said in a statement.