Rep. Israel Calls For Retrans Arbitration, Citing NY Giants Game

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Talk about preaching to the choir. Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) will officially announce his call for binding arbitration and a standstill on an signal-pulling in the Fox/Cablevision retrans fight at a sports bar surrounded by New York Giants fans.

Israel made it clear why he didn't want the Fox stations to go dark on Cablevision's Long Island systems if there is no deal by the Oct. 16 deadline. He said the impasse "might result in the Giants game this Sunday not being shown." That came in a release announcing what he planned to announce at 5 p.m. at the Main Events Sports Bar in Plainview, NY.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said Thursday that the commission was working with both parties to try to get a deal done, but Israel wants binding arbitration that would keep the games on the air.

While the FCC has been asked to step in before and keep signals on the air, it has historically treated retrans as a marketplace negotiation that it leaves to the parties unless they can show that the bargaining is not being conducted in good faith.

Israel's call comes a day after Rep. Peter King (R-NY) made a similar request, saying Long Island consumers losing their programming "would be an unconscionable result and unfair to sports and programming fans who have no part in this fight."