LIN Stations Go Dark For Mediacom Subs

Author:
Publish date:

The retransmission consent spat between LIN and Mediacom has resulted in
several LIN stations going dark for Mediacom subscribers. The affected
stations are WALA-WFNA Mobile-Pensacola, WOOD-WOTV Grand Rapids, WANE
Ft. Wayne, WLUK Green Bay, WTHI Terre Haute and WLFI Lafayette (Ind.).

LIN
says it has given Mediacom a one week extension for WAVY and WVBT in
Norfolk "so affected viewers can still receive our local news coverage
of Hurricane Irene," said LIN in a statement.

"LIN Media is
demanding a huge increase in the fees that Mediacom pays to carry their
stations," said Mediacom in a statement titled Why LIN Media Has Pulled
Their Stations From Your Mediacom Channel Lineup. "We believe we have a
duty to our customers to try and reach a fair deal with LIN that keeps
costs reasonable, especially given these extremely difficult economic
times."

LIN sees things differently. "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," said the
broadcaster in a statement. "We are disappointed in the outcome of our
negotiations, especially since we have successfully reached deals with
every major cable, satellite and telecommunications company that
recognizes our fair market value."

LIN said it will continue to negotiate with Mediacom.

Matt Polka, the CEO of the American Cable Association, a trade group representing smaller cable operators, said the spat should tell the Federal Communications Commission that new rules are needed to avert similar blackouts.

“Blackouts by broadcasters provided free spectrum by taxpayers are
intolerable," Polka said in a release. "The FCC should use its pending rulemaking to establish new
rules that not only ban blackouts but also prevent two or more
separately owned TV stations in the same market from banding together to
coordinate retransmission consent strategies designed to fleece the
cable operator. Moreover, FCC rules won’t restore sanity to the market
until broadcasters are stopped from discriminating against small and
mid-size cable companies, which are forced to pay much higher retrans
fees per subscriber than their larger pay-TV rivals in the same market."

Related