Lin TV Files FCC Complaint on Cable Carriage

Lin wants Atlantic Broadband to cease carriage of Lin’s CBS affiliate WIVB in local systems with a total of about 14,000 subscribers.
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Retransmission consent negotiations between Lin TV and a small cable operator over a Buffalo, N.Y., station have broken down, and the broadcaster has taken its case against the cabler to the FCC.

Lin wants Atlantic Broadband to cease carriage of Lin’s CBS affiliate WIVB in local systems with a total of about 14,000 subscribers.

According to correspondence between the two parties that Lin included in its FCC complaint, part of the disagreement centers on whether Lin had elected retrans consent rights in a timely and proper manner; the cable operator maintains the broadcaster never adequately notified the company of its declaration and by default became a must-carry station, with no compensation due the broadcaster. Part of the confusion came from a transfer of ownership of the cable systems.

The two sides could not agree on terms for two small cable systems in the Buffalo DMA, and Atlantic Cable offered nothing to carry the station in the Erie, Pa., DMA, where the company said it already carries a CBS station.

The complaint comes just before the station carries Sunday’s NFL game between the Bills and the Browns, with both teams gunning for an AFC wildcard spot.

Lin also said it would pull the plug—of another football-carrying station—on a small cable operator in New Mexico Saturday, Dec. 15, when the station’s carriage agreement ends.

Lin said it reached an agreement with Cable One for retransmission of Albuquerque CBS affiliate KRQE, and is hoping to reach a comparable agreement for its KASA (Fox 2) station.

“We only want what is fair for our local Fox station,” said Lin Executive Vice President for Digital Media Gregory M. Schmidt. “Cable One continues to pay money to niche cable programmers, with substantially less viewing.”

In addition to regular-season NFL games each weekend, Fox is carrying several major college bowl games and the BCS National Football Championship game between Ohio State and LSU Jan. 7; the NFL’s NFC wildcard and playoff games, and Super Bowl XLII Feb. 3.