Lost channel sparks blame game

Published 9:12 am Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Local Mediacom viewers missing their favorite Fox programs can pick who they want to blame ó Fox affiliate WALA parent company LIN Media and Mediacom are blaming each other for the interruption of service.

In a letter dated Sept. 1, Mediacom CEO Rocco B. Commisso wrote to Chairman Julius Genachowske, of the Federal Communications Commission, complaining about the decision of allowing LIN Media, and others, to hold the viewers “hostage” to whatever they want to charge.

“We believe this is a pressure tactic to force cable, satellite or phone providers that carry LIN stations, and ultimately, you the customer, to pay more ó a lot more,” Mediacom said in a statement to viewers.

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According to Commisso, from 2003 to 2008 some of the television providers want to charge four times the rate of inflation and there is no reason for this to be the case.

“The inaction of the Commission costs Americans billions of dollars, as programming owners have increased their rates,” he said in a letter to the FCC. “It exposes consumers to pay more for the loss or to just simply keep what they already have.”

Meanwhile, officials at LIN Media ó which runs WALA and WFNA, both Pensacola-area affiliates, said that they have tried to reach an agreement with Medicom, so the viewers would not miss any programing.

“We are disappointed in the outcome of our negotiations, especially since we have successfully reached deals with every major cable, satellite and telecommunications company that recognizes our fair market value,” LIN said in a statement. “Without fair and equitable treatment, local TV stations will not be able to continue to provide top quality news, sports, entertainment, and other local programming that is most important to you.

“It is important for you to understand that Mediacom profits by including broadcast stations like ours in its line-up, and like any other business, it should pay fair market value, which amounts to only pennies a day per station/per subscriber, for the ability to resell our stationsí programming to you. Remember, you are already paying for our local programming as part of your monthly bill.

The company will continue to negotiate with MediaCom in hopes of reaching an agreement on televising WALA and WFNA.