The retrans dispute between cable MSO Mediacom and LIN TV reached a nadir today as the Providence, R.I.-based station group pulled eight of its stations from the Mediacom channel lineup.
Middletown, N.Y. based Mediacom has approximately 1.2 million subscribers, mostly in the Midwest and southeastern U.S. The dispute surrounds Mediacom’s refusal to agree to the amount of money paid to retransmit LIN’s broadcast channels.
These stations are no longer carried on Mediacom’s cable systems:
- •WALA, WFNA Mobile, AL/Pensacola, FL
- •WANE Fort Wayne, IN
- •WAVY, WVBT Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News VA
- •WLFI Lafayette, IN
- •WLUK Green Bay-Appleton, WI
- •WOOD Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, MI
- •WTHI Terre Haute, IN
“Please know that we have tried hard to reach an agreement with Mediacom, so that our viewers would not have to miss any of our stations’ around-the-clock reporting of news, politics, traffic, weather emergencies, public service announcements, and favorite local and national programming,” LIN said in a statement to Mediacom subscribers. “We will continue to negotiate with Mediacom. Unfortunately, we do not know if, or when, we will reach an agreement. In the meantime, we hope you will continue supporting local television and watch us through alternative means.”
Mediacom said LIN’s actions were a “scare tactic” to force the operator to give in to LIN’s “unreasonable contract demands.”
The American Cable Association, which represents small and mid-sized cable operators like Mediacom came out swinging against LIN.
"LIN TV's decision today to stage a blackout against Mediacom cable customers is deplorable and should serve as a warning to the Federal Communications Commission to expect much more of the same as cable operators prepare to renew thousands of retransmission consent contracts that expire at the end of the year, the association said in a statement. "It's clear that the broadcasters aren't going to temper their behavior this year just because the FCC has a retransmission consent rulemaking going on. New rules are needed from the FCC, and needed soon.”