Viewers in central and eastern Iowa may have to set up antennas as a second agreement between a group of TV stations and a cable company expires tonight (Friday) at midnight. Sinclair Broadcast Group is asking Mediacom to pay one-million dollars more than the cable company wants for the right to air 22 television stations- including the CBS affiliate– KGAN-TV in Cedar Rapids and KDSM-Fox in Des Moines.

Mediacom’s Phyllis Peters says a number of cable customers are preparing for the worst — and taking advantage of the company’s offer of free rabbit-ear antennas to get the channels over the air. Peters says the antennas are not the solution everywhere, but they will work for some viewers if the stations are pulled off cable.

Peters says negotiations continue as new proposals have been made to Sinclair and she remains hopeful a deal can be reached prior to the deadline. Peters says agreements have been reached to replenish some markets with lost programming.

Peters says the Quad City-based CBS affiliate will be added to some markets, including Iowa City, and there are areas in southern Iowa where the Fox affiliate in Ottumwa will provide the same network programming as the affiliate in Des Moines. The Sinclair stations are still on the Mediacom cable system after an earlier deadline to pull them was extended. In the meantime, Mediacom continues to offer free antennas to all of its customers who can get the channels over the air.