Without naming any names, Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachwoski said Thursday the agency continued to talk with the parties involved in ongoing retransmission-consent negoatiations--that would include prominently Fox and Cablevision--and that he was hoping the two sides would come to an agreement.
"We will work with the different parties to try and encourage deals being done in a timely way," he said.
The Fox/Cablevision deal expires at midnight on Oct. 16.
The chairman, responding to a question at a press conference following the FCC's monthly public meeting, said he continued to be concerned about the impact on consumers of those impasses and that the commission continued to "push for greater information and notice" of potential programming disruptions.
Asked to elaborate, he pointed to the retrans impasses at the end of last year. He said one of the challenges was the possibility that signals migh be pulled on a Friday of the New Year's weekend before some "compelling" programming aired (college bowl games in particular).
Sinclar and Mediacom eventually came to a deal without any programming disruptions that could have meant some football fans missing their local college team bowl games. But Genachowski is concerned that viewers aren't getting sufficient information about the possibilities of losing programming and what their options are.
But he also said he thought that all the parties invovled "understand that there are real risks of not reaching a deal." One of those risks is congressional pressure on the FCC to step in.
The commission earlier this year solicited comment on changes to the retrans system proposed in a petition for rulemaking by cable companies, satellite operators and others, but has not taken any action on the request.