Mediacom Cable customers in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids markets will continue to receive programming from Sinclair Broadcasting for at least one more year without interruption. A retransmission agreement between Mediacom and Sinclair was set to expire at midnight Friday, but the two sides have agreed on a new 12-month contract. Mediacom spokesperson Phyllis Peters says her company wanted a longer term deal, but Sinclair signed similar one-year agreements with other cable providers.
“That was at Sinclair’s choosing and I think it has to do with some of the distribution rights of Sinclair from Fox Network and when some of that is up for renewal,” Peters said. “So, it’s one year, but that’s the best we could get.” Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Peters says Mediacom will be paying a higher price to carry the Sinclair stations and that cost will be passed on to customers.
“The owners of the stations want a bigger price and, above them, the owners of the network programming want more money,” Peters said. But, we don’t disclose what those dollars and cents are. We just work as hard as we can to hold down the costs in other areas because programming is the hard one that we have less control over.” If a deal had not been reached, Mediacom customers would have lost Fox stations – KDSM in Des Moines and KFXA in Cedar Rapids – as well as KGAN, a CBS affiliate, in Cedar Rapids.
Three years ago, viewers lost those stations for a month because of a similar dispute over retransmission fees. Peters says “something needs to be done” about rising programming prices. “Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. realize that the retransmission consent process is broken and there are some reforms that are needed,” Peters said.
“Consumers are the ones paying the cost of this, so we really hope that some of the issues that were brought up – not just by Mediacom, but by other companies too – are reviewed and the current rules get some review and possibly some changes.”