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Full Channel Cuts Deal with Univision to Replace WUNI-TV

WARREN, R.I.: Univision programming is being restored to 7,000 households around Rhode Island’s East Bay. Full Channel TV today said that it cut a deal with the network after a three-month stand-off between it and WUNI-TV in Worcester, Mass.

“As of Monday, May 16, Univision can be found on Full Channel’s Digital Silver TV tier on channel 127,” said Full Channel, a small cable operator in Warren serving around 7,000 customers.

Entravision, owner of WUNI, pulled the signal from Full Channel on Feb. 18 after the two could not come to a retransmission-consent agreement. Full Channel’s vice president, Levi C. Maaia, wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski on Feb. 23, imploring the regulator to undertake retransmission consent reform. He said Entravision was going after a 33 percent fee increase that Full Channel refused. Terms reflecting today’s agreement with Univsion were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to have the network back in our lineup, but the rules remain very flawed and unbalanced,” said Linda Jane Maaia, Full Channel president and CEO. “We simply refuse to allow our customers to be extorted. We have spent many, many hours working to reach a deal with just one of the many TV broadcasters demanding access to our customers’ pocketbooks.”

Genachowski had shied away from retransmission reform, but reluctantly opened a proceeding on it in March under pressure from pay-TV providers and lawmakers. Cable operators would like to see the FCC prohibit TV stations from pulling signals during retransmission negotiations. The commission’s proposal addresses the issue by suggesting the elimination of non-dupe rules. Non-dupe rules prohibit pay providers from picking up an out-of-market affiliate when the same affiliate from within a given market pulls a signal. ~ Deborah D. McAdams (I originally wrote that Full Channel and Entravision had reached an agreement. Levi Maaia brought the error to my attention.)

See . . .
March 3, 2011:“FCC Retrans Proposal Includes Elimination of Non-Dupe Rule”
The commission proposes to do away with the network non-duplication and syndication exclusivity rules. This would allow cable operators to carry an out-of-market TV station should an in-market affiliate pull its signal in a retransmission stand-off. Currently, stations can assert non-duplication rights by sending notifications to cable operators within 60 days of a network affiliate agreement.