Reps. Rap Retransmission-Consent In 'Dear Colleague' Letter

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The bipartisan duo Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) are seeking their colleagues' signatures on a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski asking him to launch a rulemaking on reforming retransmission consent.

That is according to a copy of the letter obtained by Multichannel News.

"Given the harm to consumers under the current system, and considering the signficant marketplace developments since the retransmission consent regime was created in 1992," they wrote, "we believe that it is time for the commission to reexamine its rules governing retransmission consent and act to protect consumers."

They pointed in their missive that a group of retrans critics petitioned the FCC for retrans changes on March 9 (the Time Warner Cable-led coaltion most of whose members coalesced into the American TV Alliance earlier this week). The comment period is over and they urged the FCC to "quickly" issue a proposed rulemaking.

Echoing the consumer focus of the new ATVA retrans coalition, the legislators said they have serious concerns about retrans disputes' impact on viewrs, "who either lose access to broadcast programming or bear the increased costs of such programming in the form of more expensive bill from the pay-TV provider.

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