FCC Media Bureau Chief William Lake on Friday wrote the executives of Cablevision and News Corp, parent company of Fox, requesting information about the companies' ongoing dispute over programming fees.
Citing the commission's belief, per congressional intention, that broadcasters and cable companies have an obligation to negotiate carriage fees "in an atmosphere of honesty, purpose and clarity or process," Lake asked the companies to provide information about the nature of their current negotiations.
Specifically, Lake requested that each company describe how it "is satisfying this important statutory obligation in the context of your retransmission consent negotiations." He also asked both parties to "describe with specificity what has transpired since you initially began your negotiations, and detail the efforts your company is making to end the current impasse."
The commission requested that both parties respond with the information by close of business this Monday.
Cablevision customers in the New York area lost Fox channels on Saturday after the two companies failed to reach an agreement over how much Cablevision should pay Fox to carry its signals.
Cablevision has called Fox's request for $150 million to carry its signal "outrageous," "unfair," and an "act of corporate greed." Fox, who denies the $150 million figure, has called Cablevision "hypocritical," saying the company has a double-standard for how these negotiations should be conducted and "will say and do anything to protect its profits."
Still at an impasse after 8 days, Fox issued a public statement on Friday advising Cablevision customers to switch providers or purchase an over-the-air antenna to see the World Series.
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