LIN Stations Return to Mediacom

PROVIDENCE, RI and MIDDLETOWN, NY: Six weeks after pulling its stations from Mediacom over a retransmission dispute, eight LIN TV stations were returned to the Middletown, NY-based cable operator’s channel lineup over the weekend.

On Sept. 1, Providence, RI-based LIN TV, pulled its stations from Mediacom, which has approximately 1.2 million subscribers mostly in the Midwest and southeastern U.S. over fees that the station group charges the cable operator to carry its stations in specific markets. Terms of the new deal were not revealed.

The stations include:

  • •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

The American Cable Association, which represents small to mid-sized cable operators warned that this latest skirmish represents a growing problem among broadcasters and MSOs and urged the FCC to investigate retransmission consent rulemaking.

“Decisive action by the Federal Communications Commission is needed soon because approximately 900 independent cable operators have to conclude retransmission consent agreements by Dec. 31, 2011, or face TV station blackouts on a massive scale, especially in smaller markets like Topeka, Kan., where one broadcaster just gained control of the retrans rights to the ABC, NBC, and FOX affiliates now carried by 10 ACA members in that market,” the ACA said in a statement. “In addition to repudiating blackouts, the FCC should use the pending retransmission consent rulemaking to outlaw separately owned TV stations in the same market from coordinating their negotiations for carriage fees, which is nothing but a crass price-fixing scheme aimed at small cable operators with no leverage to resist. The FCC also needs to clamp down on broadcasters that curtail cable operator access to out-of-market stations desired by their customers.”