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Negotiations break down; Mediacom drops KOMU from lineup

Local Mediacom subscribers lost programming from KOMU 8 and Mid-Missouri's CW channel early Tuesday after contract negotiations broke down and the cable service dropped the channels from its lineup.

Local Mediacom subscribers lost programming from KOMU 8 and Mid-Missouri's CW channel early Tuesday after contract negotiations broke down and the cable service dropped the channels from its lineup.

Early Tuesday, Mediacom dropped KOMU 8 and Mid-Missouri’s CW channel from its lineup in Jefferson City, Holts Summit and Columbia.

The TV station reported that the disconnect occurred due to a breakdown in negotiations between the New York-based cable provider and KOMU, the local NBC affiliate.

“KOMU appreciates our loyal viewers,” KOMU General Manager Marty Siddall stated in a news release. “I want them to know that we have been strongly committed to reaching a fair, reasonable agreement with Mediacom. Although our good faith efforts have been rebuffed thus far, we will continue to seek an acceptable agreement.”

Mediacom claims in a message posted on the former KOMU channel that the cable company "believes taxpayer-supported KOMU's demands are excessive, which is why we're working to ensure our customers get a good value."

Mediacom refers twice in its statement to "taxpayer-supported" KOMU, a reference to the station's ownership by the University of Missouri. However, KOMU notes that its revenues come from advertising and retransmission fees and that no tax dollars are used to run its commercial station.

Mediacom's action dropping KOMU from its service does not affect Mid-Missouri viewers who receive the channel by antenna or through other cable and satellite providers like Dish Network, DirecTV or CenturyLink.

Last Friday, Dec. 31, KOMU and Mediacom agreed to terms for the first year of a three-year contract extension, according to the TV station's news release. On Monday, negotiations on years two and three of the contract stalled. In response, KOMU offered Mediacom a one-year contract based on the terms agreed to last Friday, but Mediacom rejected that offer.

“We were assured the terms negotiated on December 31 would set the stage for successful negotiations of years two and three of a contract," said Siddall. "Unfortunately, Mediacom’s negotiating position since then has been contrary to the spirit of terms agreed to last week."

However, Mediacom's message to its customers state the company's efforts to negotiate "a reasonable agreement with taxpayer-owned KOMU resulted in KOMU's decision to remove their signal from our system."

Mediacom Digital customers can receive certain NBC shows like "The Office" by using the digital service's On Demand service. The company also noted that subscribers can "stream live sports like the NHL and Sunday Night Football by using high-speed Internet."

Mediacom's message also reported that customers who do not subscribe to the digital level of service can visit the company's office "for a free NBC On Demand box."

Meanwhile, KOMU reported it is listing alternatives for viewing its programming at KOMU.com/freeTV, or by calling KOMU at 573-882-8888.

Some NBC network programs are also available for viewing via the Internet at www.nbc.com or at www.hulu.com.

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