Nashville ABC station issues blackout threat to Mediacom

Media General station WKRN-TV, an ABC affiliate in Nashville, says that if it doesn't have a renewal for retransmission licensing in place with Mediacom by July 14, its signal will be pulled off of the program guide of the mid-sized cable operator.

"Please call Mediacom and tell them you do not want to lose WKRN News 2 and all of your favorite programming," reads a statement posted on the station's website. "You should also let Mediacom know that you do not want to be charged for programming that you may not receive if an agreement is not reached. Mediacom's phone number is 1-855-633-4226. If you would like to contact us, please call 615-369-7222 or email [email protected]."

The station adds, "By law, if we do not reach an agreement, Mediacom can no longer carry WKRN News 2."

Mediacom responded Monday afteroon with this statement: "Media General and its predecessor companies, LIN Media and Young Broadcasting, have blacked out numerous cable and satellite providers over the years. It is not surprising that they would resort to using blackout threats as an attempt to force our customers to pay more money. We will continue to negotiate in good faith and try to make the best deal we can for the communities we serve." 

Mediacom just got finished settling a retrans dispute that kept three Midwestern NBC affiliates owned by Granite Communications off its program guide. Under the settlement, Granite Broadcasting's stations including its NBC affiliate in Duluth, Minn., KJBR-TV; its NBC affiliate in Fort Wayne, Ind., WISE-TV; and its NBC affiliate in Peoria, Ill., WEEK-TV, are returning to Mediacom's lineup. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

For its part, WKRN used its statement to lobby the general public on retrans policy, noting that, "based on publicly available information, all pay-TV providers, including Mediacom, pay substantial fees per month for the rights to carry ESPN, TNT, and many other cable networks that have far less viewers, no local employees and no local investments. The rates we are asking for are far less than what Mediacom pays for major sports networks and comparable to what they pay for some other cable networks that are viewed less than WKRN News 2."

For more:
- read this WKRN statement
- read this Broadcasting & Cable story

Related links:
Mediacom reaches deal with Granite Broadcasting, ends blackout of three Midwestern NBC affiliates
Mediacom wins race to bottom of customer service rankings for bundled services, edging TWC
Bitter carriage war breaks out between Mediacom, Granite Broadcasting

UPDATE; This story was updated on July 6 to include a response from Mediacom.