With the deadline looming for the FCC to receive comments by May 3rd and reply comments by June 17th, expect to see more opposition surface to the Comcast/NBCU deal. Here’s the letter which Tim Busch, the head of CBS affiliates, just circulated to his stations:
March 29, 2010
Dear CBS Affiliate:
Your Association is carefully monitoring the proposed merger of Comcast and NBC Universal. We are concerned that the proposed merger would competitively disadvantage CBS affiliates by reposing an unprecedented level of media market power in a single, vertically integrated cable/television broadcast network company. Our specific concern is that Comcast/NBCU would have incentives to competitively disadvantage and discriminate against non-NBC affiliated stations in terms of Comcast’s cable carriage, retransmission consent negotiations, and advertising and promotion practices.
To that end, upon the direction of your Board, I have conferred with the FOX and ABC Affiliate Associations, along with legal counsel, for the purpose of communicating our concerns to the FCC. We are in the process at the moment of arranging a meeting with Comcast in the hope that Comcast will voluntarily agree to have certain regulatory conditions incorporated in any FCC approval of the merger to assure non-discriminatory and fair treatment of CBS-affiliated stations following the merger.
The FCC has announced a deadline of May 3 for comments and June 17 for reply comments.
We will keep you informed of our efforts and welcome your helpful thoughts and suggestions on this important issue. In that regard, please feel free to reach out to your district representative or any Board member at anytime in the near future.
Tim Busch, Chairman