Mediacom ends 14-market blackout with Media General

Mediacom has renewed its broadcast retransmission license with Media General, ending a blackout that affected 16 stations in 14 markets.

The blackout that began July 14 will end today, but not all the impacted stations are coming back onto Mediacom's program grid to stay.

The agreement only covers Media General/LIN Media stations that are the primary network affiliates in their respective markets. Modicum says that some stations in areas where the broadcaster doesn't operate the primary network affiliate will be reinstated only temporarily, then phased off the MSO's programming grid in the coming months.

"We would like to thank our customers for their support, patience and loyalty as we worked to reach a new contract with Media General," Ed Pardini, Mediacom's senior VP of field operations, said in a statement.

The affected stations included: KWQC-NBC (Davenport, Iowa/Rock Island-Moline, Ill.), KIMT-CBS/MNT (Mason City, Iowa), KELO-CBS/MNT (Sioux Falls, S.D.), WANE-CBS (Fort Wayne, Ind.), WAVY-NBC and WVBT-FOX (Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va.), WTHI-CBS/FOX (Terre Haute, Ind.), WKRN-ABC (Nashville, Tenn.), KSNT-NBC and KTMJ-FOX (Topeka, Kan.), KSNW-NBC (Wichita-Hutchison, Kan.), WIAT-CBS (Birmingham, Ala.), WOTV-ABC and WOOD-NBC (Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich.), WBAY-ABC (Green Bay-Appleton, Wis.), WFNA-CW (Mobile, AL/Pensacola, Fla.) and KRON-MNT (San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Calif.).

The blackout resulted in a few major programming events being missed by Mediacom customers -- notably, Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. It also served as a lighting rod for cable-industry lobbying groups, who are focused on mobilizing the FCC to act on fast-rising broadcast-retransmission fees.

"Media General is holding the Major League Baseball All Star Game and dozens of other favorite shows for ransom in a naked ploy to get consumers to pay higher TV fees," noted the cable-backed American TV Alliance. "Media General should be ashamed that they are depriving kids in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Terre Haute and Topeka the opportunity to watch their favorite ballplayers compete in one of America's most beloved sporting events. Tens of thousands of TV fans in other cities won't get to see their favorite shows on CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox."

For more:
- read this Mediacom press release

Related articles:
Media General blacks out stations on Mediacom in 14 markets
SNL Kagan raises retrans fee forecast to $9.8B by 2020; Mediacom's CEO complains to FCC
Mediacom reaches deal with Granite Broadcasting, ends blackout of three Midwestern NBC affiliates

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