Mediacom to Lose Sinclair Signals

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Mediacom Communications will lose the broadcast signals from 22 Sinclair Broadcast Group stations Nov. 30 after a federal judge denied a motion from the cable distributor to issue a preliminary injunction that would block Sinclair from pulling its feed.

The decision, handed down Tuesday from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, is a setback for Mediacom, which has resisted demands from Sinclair that the cable company pay it fees in exchange for retransmission consent. Sinclair said 800,000 Mediacom subscribers are impacted by the decision.

Mediacom recently filed an antitrust suit against Sinclair. The court ruled in its decision that Mediacom is “unlikely to succeed on the merits of its antitrust claim” against Sinclair.

Mediacom senior vice president and general counsel Joe Young declined to detail Sinclair’s demands, but he maintained that the company is “very much playing hardball” and taking a position of, “It’s either our way or the highway.”

Young said Mediacom has reached retransmission-consent deals with other broadcasters that include agreements for Mediacom to buy local advertising on TV stations, or to build fiber links connecting TV stations to Mediacom’s network.

“Our basic position has been that we just want to do whatever the market is. We don’t want to be treated differently than anybody else,” Young added, referring to retransmission-consent agreements Sinclair has cut with larger operators such as Comcast.

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