Retrans Reform Lobby Ramps Up Rhetoric

Cable companies and other advocates of retransmission reform cranked up the lobby machine Monday (Nov. 15) with a column from former Rep. Jack Fields, one of the sponsors of the 1992 law that established the current retransmission rules, and a lobbyist with the cable TV industry.

In his op-ed published in The Hill, Fields writes that the law has been “twisted in a way that undermines its intended purposes.” In Fields’ view, broadcasters are using the law to pull their signals from video providers unless those video providers pay a steep price.

Fields’ op-ed comes just two days before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and Internet holds hearings.

“Our goal was to ensure that the public would retain access to local broadcast programming as cable television gained in power and influence,” Fields wrote. “Broadcasters are exploiting a law designed to prevent consumers from experiencing service disruptions to justify blackouts.”

Fields’ firm, Twenty-First Century Group, has received $935,000 since 2001 from Time Warner Cable, DISH Network and Verizon, and others that have advocated retransmission consent reform, per