American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew Polka issued the following statement regarding Sinclair’s outrageous treatment of Buckeye CableSystem customers in Toledo over the past six months:
“Not in a million years would Sinclair be able to stage a 212-day boycott of Buckeye CableSystem customers from Dec. 15, 2013, to July 14, 2014, if the negotiation of cable carriage of TV stations occurred in a truly free market, where buyers and sellers meet as equals and broadcasters don’t have the leverage of outdated federal regulations to mistreat consumers at their whim.
Sinclair’s conduct in this matter has been nothing short of outrageous. The status quo of ever-rising cable bills fueled by an avaricious, anti-innovation broadcast TV industry is unacceptable. Broadcasters’ protectionism must not be preserved. It must be abolished as soon as possible if our leaders want to stop media miscreants like Sinclair from engaging in the willy-nilly victimization of innocent cable viewers.
Just because a deal was reached does not mean Congress and the Federal Communications Commission should forget the disruption that Sinclair caused tens of thousands of consumers when it chose to withdraw its signal from Buckeye CableSystem customers rather than keep it available while negotiations continued. Sinclair and the National Association of Broadcasters say that this is how the market works. If that’s so, then it’s time scrap it and time for Congress and the FCC to take action to prevent such blackouts in the future.”