Just hours before a deadline which would have seen carriage of several local stations owned by Nexstar no longer be available in cities in the south and midwest, a carriage deal has been reached between the nation's largest TV station group and cable operator, Mediacom.
"We have reached an agreement," Thomas Laren, Mediacom's senior vice president of government and public relations, told FOX Business late New Year's Eve. The current contract between Nexstar and Mediacom, the nation's fifth-largest cable operator, was set to expire at midnight.
The new pact comes just hours after Comcast and Nexstar had come to terms to continue airing programming from some 90 Nexstar stations such as WGN America, KWGEN in Denver, WTNH in New Haven and WDCW in Washington D.C.
Comcast as recently as Monday night had posted a notice on its web site alerting subscribers that stations owned byNexstar could be dropped at midnight on New Year's Eve. But by Tuesday morning the Nexstar stations were removed from the list and Nexstar confirmed to FOX Business that a new contract had been reached.
Still as of Tuesday night several non-Nexstar stations remain on the Comcast list such WAFB in Baton Rouge and WAGT in Augusta, which are owned by Gray Television. The Comcast / Gray contracts for those stations do not expire until March 31, 2020 and Kevin Latek, Gray's executive vice president and chief legal officer told FOX Business "we fully expect that Gray and Comcast will come to a mutually beneficial renewal this spring just as Gray and Comcast each routinely do every single year with our respective distribution partners."
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The Nexstar / Mediacom arrangement comes at a key time for some of the Nexstar stations in Iowa such as WHO in Iowa City, KCAU in Sioux City and WHBF which serves the Quad Cities and southeastern Iowa. With the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses taking place on Feb. 3, 2020 no agreement with Mediacom could have impacted candidate television spending, station revenue for those stations and the availability of ad time on other local stations in those cities.
This updates a previous story published Monday and Tuesday when no deals had been reached by Nexstar with Comcast or Mediacom