An Iowa General Assembly committee postponed a hearing, set for this week, on the Mediacom Communications-Sinclair Broadcast Group dispute, prompting six state senators to call for immediate restoration of the broadcaster’s TV stations in the interim.
The special hearing of the Assembly’s Joint Government Oversight Committee, to review facts in the ongoing retransmission-consent standoff, was delayed until next week so that representatives of Sinclair can attend.
“We are disappointed to learn about the cancellation of today’s meeting,” a group of six Iowa senators said in a press release Wednesday. “Resolution of this protracted dispute is overdue. Iowans want this dispute to stop disrupting their lives. While we understand that the Government Oversight Committee members have canceled today’s meeting to accede to Sinclair’s request for a delay, we also believe that resolution of this protracted dispute is overdue.”
Sinclair pulled the signals for 22 of its stations from Mediacom Jan. 6 in 12 states, impacting 700,000 subscribers.
“Today, we are calling on Sinclair to immediately allow Mediacom to resume carrying the KDSM signal in Des Moines market and the KGAN signal in Cedar Rapids until both sides have a chance to appear before the Government Oversight Committee and to resolve this dispute,” the six senators added. “Clearly, a resumption of carriage is in the best interests of Iowa's television-viewing public. It would show tremendous good faith on Sinclair’s part and go a long way toward restoring public confidence and showing viewers that they aren’t pawns in a game.”
The six state senators who called for Sinclair to restore its TV stations to Mediacom were Joe Bolkcom (D-Johnson), Bob Dvorsky (D-Johnson), Rob Hogg (D-Linn), Jack Hatch (D-Polk), Wally Horn (D-Linn) and Matt McCoy (D-Polk).
While the senators said in their press release that the Joint Government Oversight Committee was set to meet Wednesday on Mediacom-Sinclair, in its press release last week, Mediacom had said that the hearing was slated for Thursday. In any event, it will be rescheduled for next week.