Rainbow PUSHes FCC For Sinclair Hearing

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Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition has asked the Federal Communications Commission to take a second look at its request that it deny license renewals for some Sinclair stations, saying Mediacom's retrans complaint against the broadcaster provides new evidence of misconduct.

That came in a letter from to FCC Media Bureau Bill Lake Friday from Rainbow PUSH counsel David Honig.

The request involves the FCC acting on a petition, filed in 2004, to review an earlier decision denying Rainbow PUSH's petition to deny Sinclair license renewals because the group alleged Sinclair was exerting de facto control of another station group Glencairn, Ltd. (later Cunningham Broadcasting) via LMA agreements and in violation of the FCC's duopoly limits.

The FCC, then chaired by Michael Powell, agreed Sinclair was exerting undue control but did not designate the licenses for hearing, over the objection of FCC comissioner Michael Copps. Honig's bottom line: "We want the FCC to hold a hearing on whether the FCC is qualified to be a licensee."

Rainbow PUSH said Sinclair is exerting de facto control over licenses in many markets and argues that "Mediacom's evidence of continued Sinclair misconduct illustrates why the FCC must address Rainbow PUSH's pending petition for reconsideration."

Mediacom has complained that Sinclair is not bargaining in good faith and has made "anticompetitive" demands in exerting control over LMA retransmission consent negotiations.

"The facts and allegations raised in Mediacom's complaint re-open the issues that Rainbow PUSH has previously raised before the Commission," wrote Honig.

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