Sinclair/Mediacom battle keeping satellite companies busy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sinclair/Mediacom battle keeping satellite companies busy


DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- The Iowa Hawkeyes are preparing for their biggest bowl game in years, but fans back home are scrambling to find a TV to watch them, thanks to a rekindled feud between Mediacom cable and Sinclair broadcasting.

The current agreement expires December 31. Without a new agreement, Eastern Iowa Mediacom customers will lose FOX and CBS programming.

Not to mention football fans may not be able to watch their Hawkeyes take on Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl on January 5th.

Add the super bowl on February 7th, and you have some very angry TV viewers. It's a rerun many viewers aren't particularly happy to play a part in. For the second time in three years, Sinclair is demanding more money from Mediacom Cable to carry FOX programming. Mediacom is refusing to pay. Which is leaving many cable subscribers, who want to watch FOX programming, with no choice but to turn to satellite.

Winter months are usually quiet for Mike Gibbs, manager at Pinnacle Cellular and Satellite in Dubuque.

"We've seen probably a good amount of traffic, probably about the same. People are busy now with Christmas shopping so I think it's a bad time for Mediacom to do this," said Gibbs.

But this Christmas he's getting a lot of calls from Hawkeye fans who are worried they won't get the Orange Bowl in January.

"Being that CBS and FOX both may go down, not only is it the Hawkeye game on January 5th with the Orange Bowl but its also NFL games, NFL Playoffs," said Gibbs.

Gibbs says he's seen more inquires than installation request. Many subscribers waiting to see if Mediacom and Sinclair come to an agreement. But he says his installation staff is trained and ready to install, despite the weather.

"We're not gonna put ourselves in danger but if we can get the job done, we'll do it as close to the next day as possible," said Gibbs.

Meanwhile negotiations continue between Mediacom and Sinclair; using the Orange Bowl as bate.

In an e-mail to KWWL, Mediacom's communication director wrote: "It won't save the consumers any money because once the bar is raised for one distributor of the channels, it is raised for all. That's why DirectTV and DISH have also contacted the FCC and have an interest in seeing Mediacom hold down costs."

"It's the last straw for them if an agreement's not reached," said Gibbs.

As the game between Sinclair and Mediacom continues, managers like Gibbs say they'll be ready for the Hawkeye game, come January 1st.

We spoke with several satellite companies in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Waterloo. They tell us they've also seen and increase in inquires. But say many customers are waiting to see what happens between the two companies.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

Follow Lauren on Twitter.

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