BLOOMING GROVE, N.Y.—Just before the calendar flipped to 2021, 16 Tegna-owned stations across 11 markets went dark to Mediacom customers as the two sides were not able to reach a retransmission consent agreement before a Dec. 31, 5 p.m. ET deadline.
According to a statement on Mediacom’s website, it was ordered to stop carrying the Tegna stations, even though the company said it was offering to pay a “significant increase” for retransmission rights from the previous contract. “Under federal law, we can’t carry a station unless the owner grants us permission to do so.”
Mediacom says that Tegna is asking for “unacceptable” price increases, which it says are “uncalled for and unjustified” amidst the ongoing pandemic.
Tegna, in messages on its stations’ websites, says that it is seeking a “fair, market-based agreement,” and that it has deals in place with other distributors in the impacted areas.
“We are committed to reaching a fair, market-based agreement with all the video service providers in our area,” Tegna said via the station websites. “Our track record proves it. Over the past few years, we’ve reached hundreds of multi-year deals with cable and satellite companies all across the country …”
Tegna offered this official statement as well:
“TEGNA has been working hard to reach a fair, market-based agreement with Mediacom. Unfortunately, Mediacom has not actively engaged in negotiations with us since last Thursday’s agreement deadline passed, and our stations went dark on their system. This means that Mediacom subscribers do not have access to our high-quality news, sports, weather and entertainment programming.
While we remain hopeful this will get resolved quickly, Mediacom viewers should know our channels remain available on virtually every other service provider in their community, as well as many streaming services that offer instant access when viewers sign up. Viewers can also watch our newscasts live on our stations’ websites, Roku and mobile apps.”
Tegna, however, did just end a three-week blackout dispute with AT&T’s DirecTV just before Christmas.
Mediacom, meanwhile, has also been battling with other station owners, narrowly avoiding a blackout of Gray TV stations prior to the end of 2020.
Here is a list of all the stations impacted by the Tegna/Mediacom blackout:
- WQAD (ABC), Davenport, Iowa; Rock Island and Moline, Ill.
- WOI (ABC), KCWI (The CW), WOID4 (COZI TV), Des Moines and Ames, Iowa
- WZDX (Fox), Huntsville and Decatur, Ala.
- WHAS (ABC), Louisville, Ky.
- WMAZ (CBS), WMAZ2 (The CW), Macon, Ga.
- KARE (NBC), Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.
- WWL (CBS), New Orleans
- WVEC (ABC), Norfolk, Portsmouth and Newport News, Va.
- KPNX (NBC), Prescott, Ariz.
- KFMB (CBS), KFMBDT2 (The CW), San Diego
- KSDK (NBC), St. Louis
- KMSB (Fox), Tucson, Ariz.
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