Mediacom cancels WEAR

Published 4:35 pm Monday, January 8, 2007

By By Janet Little Cooper
As of midnight Friday, Mediacom subscribers in Atmore will be in the dark about news happening in northwest Florida and their immediate area.
After months of unresolved negotiations, Sinclair Broadcasting Company pulled the plug for the only Pensacola-based TV news program, WEAR-TV, offered on Mediacom's cable service.
The two media companies were in disputes over the ABC affiliates insistence that Mediacom pay for the right to broadcast WEAR and its ABC network programming.
Originally, Mediacom's right to broadcast WEAR expired on Nov. 31, but the two companies agreed on an extension to pursue further negotiations. That extension fell on deaf ears as Channel 3 went black Friday night for subscribers in Atmore as well as numerous other areas.
The blackout not only means losing the only Pensacola-based news program, but viewers in Santa Rosa, Pensacola Beach and parts of Baldwin, Mobile and Escambia (Atmore) counties in Alabama will also be unable to see shows such as "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy," "Lost" and "Primetime Live." Other special events such as the Academy Awards Show and the NBA finals will be lost as well.
Mediacom filed a claim with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) late Thursday in an effort to determine that Sinclair had not been negotiating in good faith. The FCC, however, rejected the claim stating that both parties needed to work the issue out.
While WEAR has been taken off the Mediacom line up and been replaced with Starz Kids and Family, a network similar to the Disney Channel, the two parties could possibly reach a deal at anytime, restoring WEAR and it's ABC national programming to local viewers.
In the meantime, WEAR is offering to help Mediacom subscribers make the switch to another cable provider, Direct TV by offering $100 to have it installed. Dish Network is another provider that carries WEAR and is offered through the local phone provider, Frontier Communications.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox