Lautenberg Blasts Fox In Retrans Dispute

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Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) criticized Fox Friday for not wanting to submit its retrans dispute to arbitration, and called on the broadcaster to keep its signals on the air past the midnight Friday (Oct.15) deadline.

"It is inexcusable that Fox would rather hold consumers hostage than engage in further negotiations," said Lautenberg. "Fox should reconsider its decision immediately and keep its signal on the air for Cablevision customers this weekend."

That came after reports the FCC had also encouraged both Fox and Cablevision to keep the signals on the air and submit to third-party mediation. An FCC source confirmed it was urging keeping the signals on and getting help with resolving the dispute, but said the FCC was not offering to act as the arbitrator.

Fox said Friday that it "appreciates the requests for binding arbitration" and shares the concern for protecting viewers and access to programming, but that Cablevision needs to " stop hiding behind a call for binding arbitration and negotiate in good faith."

Lautenberg is a long-time critic of Fox's WWOR, one of the stations involved in the dispute.