Iowa Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley has asked the Federal Communications Commission to help ensure his constituents don't lose access to the Iowa Hawkeyes-Georgia Tech Orange Bowl college football game Jan. 5.
Mediacom and Sinclair Broadcast Group are currently at odds in Cedar Rapids over retransmission-consent negotiations.
In a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski Thurday, Congressman Braley pointed out that the current retransmission agreeement sunets Dec. 31.
Braley said he did not want the commission to take sides on the negotiation, but he does back Mediacom's emergency request that the FCC mandate interim carriage, while it is considering Mediacom's retrans commplaint against Sinclair. That would keep the Sinclair stations on cable past the Dec. 31 expiration date.
Pulling out both pom-poms in his sports-related pitch, Braley also pointed out that CBS's coverage of Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7 could also be in jeopardy.
University of Iowa president Sally Mason sent a letter earlier in the week to the heads of both Mediacom and Sinclair asking that they agree themselves to keep the Sinclair signal on the cable system so thousands of Iowans would not miss the game.
A Mediacom spokesperson pointed out that the national championship game Jan. 7, pitting Alabama against Texas,could be blacked out on its cable system serving Mobile since the retrans deal for Sinclair's WEAR-TV also expires Dec. 31.
"Sporting events such as the Orange Bowl and the Super Bowl should not be taken hostage during a contentious negotiation like this," Braley wrote. "The FCC should step in and use its authority to prevent any interruption in broadcast service during this round of negotiations between the parties."