Mediacom Gets One Month Reprise From Sinclair

The audio clip I posted yesterday of Sinclair CEO David Smith was pretty outrageous. He basically said losing Meidacom customers won’t have a noticeable impact on Sinclair’s business. It gets down to Sinclair not caring, they should want to provide their programming to as many households as possible. The clip is right below for you to hear if you haven’t.
Anyway, Mediacom and Sinclair have agreed on a deal that will keep Sinclair stations such as KDSM Fox 17 and KGAN on Mediacom’s lineup until the beginning of 2007. Here’s some info from Mediaweek:

Mediacom Communications has gotten a one-month reprieve in one of the industry’s most contentious retransmission battles. Only hours before Mediacom would have been forced to drop Sinclair Broadcast Group’s stations from its system, the two companies came to a temporary agreement that allows for the continued carriage of 22 Sinclair stations in 16 markets through Jan. 5, 2007.

In the last two days, negotiations played out in press conferences and releases. Things looked bleak for the 700,000 Mediacom subscribers (about half of Mediacom’s subscriber base) that would lose the stations, until yesterday morning in a press conference when Sinclair said it was considering a short-term extension to provide a final chance for the two companies to reach agreement.

This other Iowan went to the local Mediacom office and discovered what I hope Sinclair also discovered:

I asked for an antenna kit, as they were giving them to their customers to be able to get KGAN. The clerk told me I didn’t need one, because they had been able to find away around the restrictions that were prohibiting them from simply swapping KGAN with the CBS affiliate in the Quad Cities. I’m sure that was a come to Jesus moment for the folks at Sinclair. If Mediacom can do that, it pretty much makes KGAN irelevant.

And Geoff had another very informative comment in my last post:

Another update, Mediacom reached a deal to carry WHBF out of Rock Island (IL/IA border) in place of KGAN as of today, so Sinclair caved and decided not to pull out of negotiations. Sinclair will postpone removing KGAN until January 2nd, hoping to continue negotiations. Mediacom has the upper hand now. If they do indeed replace KGAN with another CBS affiliate, this will essentially destroy KGAN, because a huge chunk of their viewer are Mediacom subscribers. Sinclair has no choice but to decrease its asking price. This will still mean a rise in cable rates, as Mediacom was not previously paying for Sinclair broadcast stations at all, but Mediacom should be able to minimize it.

I started wondering if some sort of deal had been made when I came home at lunch and noticed KDSM Fox 17 was still on. Looks like we’ll get to keep it until January 1st for now. Hopefully before the beginning of 2007 Sinclair will come to their senses and agree to a sensible deal with Mediacom.


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