El Paso TV in retrans battle


NBC KTSM-TV in El Paso has addressed complaints to the FCC that cable operator Baja Broadband Operating Company is not only refusing to negotiate a retransmission contract, it is carrying the stations signal on some of its cable systems without permission. KTSM further alleges that Baja is using its own baseless filings to the FCC in a manner which constitutes abuse of process, forcing the station to “spend unnecessary time and money responding to reckless allegations.”

In its filing, KTSM wrote, “As noted earlier, the FCC’s rules are designed to ensure ‘that broadcasters and MVPDs meet to negotiate retransmission consent and that such negotiations are conducted in an atmosphere of honesty, purpose, and clarity of process.’ Baja woefully disregarded this injunction and breached its duty to negotiate with ComCorp in good faith. For all of the reasons set forth herein, the Commission should take appropriate steps to sanction Baja for its unlawful conduct.”

RBR/TVBR observation: So is Baja’s strategy to simply stonewall until 12/31/08 and then hope for a six month quiet retrans quiet period? KTSM notes that Baja’s law firm is involved in similar situations elsewhere. The FCC should completely discount the notion of a January-to- June freeze and order Baja to the table.