Mediacom drops Fox from lineup

by Drew RiebhoffStaff Writer

Thousands of Mediacom subscribers in central Iowa turned on their televisions Jan. 6 to find that Fox wasn’t there.

“These negotiations were nothing more than a simple commercial transaction in which a potential buyer and a potential seller were unable to reach agreement on price,” David Smith, Sinclair’s president and chief executive officer, said in a news release from Sinclair Broadcast Group.

This inability to come to an agreement resulted in more than 800,000 Mediacom subscribers unable to watch their favorite programming offered by stations like Fox, which are owned and operated by Sinclair.

According to the Mediacom Web site, “Sinclair is demanding millions of dollars from Mediacom and its customers for the right to carry its stations,” and they have “presented a number of reasonable offers to Sinclair over the last few months, all of which have been rejected.”

Sinclair claims that, “Although Mediacom wants you to believe this is the fault of Sinclair, you should know we have been attempting to negotiate with Mediacom for many months to avoid this.”

Sinclair has successfully reached agreements with many cable and other multi-channel video providers allowing them to carry its signals. In fact, virtually the only cable systems Sinclair Stations will not carry are those owned by Mediacom.

“Mediacom needs to realize what they’re paying for,” senior Dusty Thomas, an economics and business management major said. “Sinclair has made some big contract buys, such as the rights to NFL games.”Thomas also thinks Mediacom will be the company losing out in the long run.

Currently, customers have two options on how to receive Fox programming. They can purchase “bunny ears” antennas or receive free antennas from Mediacom and pick up the on-air signal The other options is to switch to other local carriers like DirecTV that currently have an agreement with Sinclair. Sinclair is currently offering up to a $150 rebate to all Mediacom subscribers who switch to DirecTV.

With Fox offering many of today’s popular television programs such as “American Idol,” “House,” “24,” NFL games and college bowl games, people everywhere were, and still are, upset.

The situation climaxed when the national championship college football game between Ohio State and Florida was shown on Fox, just a few days after Mediacom pulled the plug, and people everywhere had to scramble to find a place to watch the game.

Freshman Collin Harrison enjoyed Fox for its sports coverage but had to miss out on the game.”I was pretty angry I didn’t get to watch the (Ohio State, Florida) game,” Harrison said.

Others aren’t as concerned with whose fault it was or the failed negotiations. They just want their favorite programming back.

“I just want to watch American Idol, that’s all,” sophomore Kayla Dvorak said.