Connecticut State Senator Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford) is fighting for her constituents' rights to watch football and baseball on TV. In the latest event related to Cablevision Systems' ongoing dispute with Tribune Company Broadcasting and the cable firm's related blackout of Tribune channels, such as Fox, Slossberg yesterday asked the Federal Communications Commission to intervene in the matter.
The dispute has been going on for months, but distress over the blackout has reached a whole new level since the beginning of football season and the baseball postseason, as Fox viewers in the affected areas have not been able to watch the bounty of NFL games broadcast on Fox or the now two-games-old World Series.
Slossberg said in a letter to the FCC that in not acting to intervene in the dispute, the FCC is failing in its mission to be a consumer protection agency. She said the FCC should mediate the dispute and give individual consumers an easier path to filing complaints over such disputes and requesting FCC action on them--something the parties involved in the dispute can do, but consumers affected by it can't.
Though the Cablevision-Tribune spat has been going on since summer, the specific absence of the World Series telecast in 50,000 Connecticut households has elevated the matter to a new level of panic (despite the fact that no team east of Ohio is in the World Series). The American Cable Association also yesterday took the opportunity to attack broadcasters in general for being so greedy as to deny viewers the chance to see a decidedly fat ballplayer nicknamed "Kung Fu Panda" swat three home runs in Game 1.
Contract disputes and related blackouts--even just blackout threats--have become a pox on the industry. You have to wonder, though. if urging and waiting for FCC action on these matters is as effective a strategy for the individual consumer as cancelling cable TV service.
Do Connecticut Yankees care about missing a Yankees-less World Series?
Cablevision blacked out four Tribune Broadcasting stations in August