Washington, DC - In response to news that a long-standing cable dispute could leave 300,000 Iowans without Orange Bowl coverage, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski today encouraging him to step in and protect the interests of Iowa's families before January 5. In a game of significant importance to Iowans, the University of Iowa Hawkeyes will play the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the Orange Bowl as part of the Bowl Championship Series.
"On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of constituents in my district who would be affected by the Sinclair-Mediacom retransmission rights negotiations, I write to solicit the FCC to protect my constituents and the public good," Braley wrote. "The January 5th Orange Bowl, in which the University of Iowa is playing their championship game with Georgia Tech, is on FOX. Mediacom's broadcast area is highly populated with the fans and alumni of the University of Iowa, and hundreds of thousands of Iowans stand to lose their chance to watch their team in the Orange Bowl if the FCC does not take action to referee the Mediacom-Sinclair dispute.
"I do not write to ask the FCC to take sides in this contentious negotiation. Rather, I ask that the FCC step in and take the appropriate actions to protect the public interest in the event that Mediacom and Sinclair are unable to come to terms on a retransmission consent agreement."
Sinclair Broadcasting Group is currently renegotiating their retransmission rights with Mediacom Communications Corporation. A similar retransmission negotiation failed to reach a compromise back in 2007 and resulted in Mediacom customers losing Sinclair's Cedar Rapids based CBS station and Des Moines based FOX station. Local media reports have indicated that parties involved are pessimistic that a deal will be reached prior to January 5.
Braley joined other members of the Iowa delegation in sending a letter to Genachowski on November 23. A full text of the letter Braley sent is attached.