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Mediacom to Add Backup CBS Affil in Iowa

Mediacom Communications will add CBS affiliate WHBF-TV, based in Iowa’s Quad Cities, to its Iowa City-area lineup to ensure that its subscribers receive CBS programming if it fails to reach a retransmission-consent agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group by Jan. 5, AP reported.

Sinclair has threatened to pull 22 stations in 12 states from Mediacom customers unless the companies can agree to a new financial arrangement.

Mediacom spokeswoman Phyllis Peters told AP the MSO cannot provide a similar arrangement for its Des Moines-area subscribers, who could lose access to Fox affiliate KDSM-TV.

Peters added that Mediacom can add WHBF in Iowa City because the community falls between transmitters for the station and KGAN, a Sinclair station in Cedar Rapids, and the two stations aren't considered competitors by the Federal Communications Commission based on Nielsen Media Research ratings.

However, she told AP, adding another Fox station to the operator’s Des Moines lineup would violate FCC rules.