Comments in hand, FCC ready to referee the retrans war

The initial comments are in and those who wish to dispute them have until June 27 to do so as the FCC finally begins its review of the contentious retransmission consent rules.

While some cynics believe little or nothing will come from the review, battle lines are drawn as expected, with service providers on one side and broadcasters on the other and a surprising third faction--an actual civilian who only wants to watch TV and learn what's going on in his neighborhood--represented in comments submitted to the Commission just before the Memorial Day holiday.

Thomas Hertz, a Swanton, Md. pay TV subscriber with no apparent axe to grind for either broadcasters or service providers, advised the FCC he just wanted the opportunity to get broadcast channels that were relevant to his community. Because his home is considered part of the Pittsburgh TV market, his local cable provider is prohibited from carrying Maryland stations because of a program exclusivity provision within the retrans rules.

"I'm sure if you were to move here from Washington, you would be equally annoyed," Hertz wrote to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

For more:
- Variety has this story

Related articles:
FCC lays out rules for retransmission consent overhaul
Cautious Clyburn agrees retrans rules may need to be tweaked
NAB opposes retransmission reforms

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