Washington--Under pressure from Congress, consumers and cable operators, Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski last week signaled his agency would step in to help referee retransmission-consent negotiations.
But it was unclear whether the commission plans to be a referee, or just deliver clearer speech about "no low blows" before exiting the squared circle again.
Cable operators, led by Cablevision Systems and Time Warner Cable, had been calling for FCC action. Cablevision repeatedly asked the commission to help settle its retransmission-consent fight with Fox. Last March, Cablevision and TWC spearheaded a petition asking the agency to create new rules, including requiring outside arbitration of impasses and preventing TV-station signals from going dark on cable systems.
Last week, FCC Media Bureau chief Bill Lake announced the commission would launch a retransmission-consent rulemaking proposal to try and prevent "service interruptions," like …