U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey yesterday called on Verizon and the new owner of Fox 25 to resolve the fee dispute that led to Thursday's blackout of the TV station for FiOS subscribers, which caused about 400,000 Massachusetts households to miss Thanksgiving football.
"For many Massachusetts consumers, Black Friday was preceded by blackout Thursday and could be followed by further programming blackouts until Cox Media Group and Verizon come to agreement," the Bay State Democrat and member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee said in a statement. "That's not right; the consumer shouldn't be caught in the middle. I urge both sides to continue working to resolve this dispute so consumers can access all of the programming they have paid for and expect from their video provider."
Would this be the same Massachusetts senator who "... is the House author of the 1992 Cable Act, which increased choices for millions of consumers and enabled satellite-delivered programming to be more widely offered."?
And which is the Act that gives 21st Century Fox (owner of WFXT Boston "Fox25") the right to demand retransmission consent fees from Verizon?
And which is the Act that the Thune-Rockefeller "Local Choice" Act seeks to amend by removing said right?
Has Senator Markey signed on to sponsor Thune-Rockefeller?
Fox doesn't own WFXT any more -- they traded it to Cox for KTVU Oakland and another station in some smaller market I've already forgotten. I have no idea how or if the two companies' retrans negotiation strategies differ -- or what conditions the asset swap agreement may have placed on Cox's negotiations. I'm told that while most personnel stayed with the individual stations where they worked, executive management was swapped along with the licenses, with KTVU's management coming to Boston and WFXT's moving to the Bay Area.
(Disclaimer: a friend of mine works for WFXT, in a subordinate technical role. But we haven't discussed this, and having been away on vacation the first I learned of it was when he tweeted about the patch cord being removed to restore Verizon's direct digital feed from the station after a deal was struck Wednesday. All of the important Boston stations [i.e., those that have the bargaining power to elect retrans consent in the first place] have direct fiber feeds to the local wireline MVPDs and to the satellite companies. Only small, independent MVPDs  and Canadian satellite operators get over-the-air broadcast signals as their primary feed.)
 If there are any left in this market. It's mostly a Comcast/Verizon duopoly with RCN operating in some of the more densely populated cities. Some municipal electric utilities may be MVPDs as well -- I'm not really up on that end of things. Twenty years ago, the major operators were Cablevision, Continental Cablevision, Time Warner, Adelphia, and TCI, in order by households passed, and RCN was just getting started as an overbuilder; some parts of Boston still had no cable TV service at all.