|This article may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. (January 2013)|
|This article is outdated. (August 2009)|
|Type||Jointly owned by Midcontinent Media and Comcast|
|Industry||Telecommunications, Cable TV, Internet|
|Founded||1931 Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Headquarters||Sioux Falls, South Dakota|
|Key people||Pat McAdaragh, CEO|
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Midcontinent Communications is a regional cable provider, providing a triple play service of cable television, cable modem Internet service, and cable telephone service for both North Dakota and South Dakota, along with several communities in western Minnesota and Wisconsin. Their business-class service also provides direct fiber-optic cable services via leased data circuits for larger companies.
Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and operated as a joint venture between Midcontinent Media and Comcast, the company, also known as "Midco" provides their services to 200 communities both urban and rural, and serves an area containing nearly 200,000 customers.
Midcontinent Media was originally founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1931 as the Welworth Theater Company, an operator of movie theaters. The company remained in that business until the 1990s, when it sold its theaters to various chains, including Carmike Cinemas. In 1952, it bought the Midcontinent Broadcasting Company, owner of KELO-AM-FM in Sioux Falls; the company name changed to Midcontinent Media. The company also bought the construction permit for South Dakota's first television station, KELO-TV, which took to the air in 1953. Midcontinent purchased several other radio and television stations, but began exiting broadcasting in the 1990s (with KELO-TV and its satellites sold off to Young Broadcasting, currently owned by Media General), selling off the last of its radio holdings in 2004.
Midco diversified and extended its reach into other areas of the Upper Midwest, providing telephone and cable TV in rural parts of its service area, starting in the 1960s. In 1999, Midcontinent Media and AT&T Broadband (formerly known as TCI) merged their cable operations in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Nebraska into Midcontinent Communications, a joint venture between both companies. The partnership continued after Comcast's purchase of AT&T Broadband.
In the fall of 2008, Charter Communications announced that it planned to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. On October 14, 2008, an article appeared in the Fairmont, Minnesota Sentinel, reporting that Charter was selling parts of their system to Midcontinent Communications, including its Bemidji, Minnesota and International Falls, Minnesota offices. Starting February 1, 2009 Midcontinent Communications took over some Charter's cable systems in Minnesota including Balaton, Bemidji, Canby, Ely, Fairmont, International Falls, Littlefork, Sherburn, and surrounding communities. Other areas in Minnesota sold to Comcast.
In June 2011, Midcontinent Communications acquired 33,000 Minnesota and Wisconsin subscribers from US Cable.
Midco previously provided paging service, starting in 1985, but sold its paging services to another South Dakota company, Vantek Communications, in 2004. The former paging service was renamed Midco Connections.
Midco Sports Network
Midcontinent offers a regional sports network called Midco Sports Network (formerly MC23 until August 2010) exclusive to their service, mainly over channels 26, 27, 322 and 323 (622 in HD) on all Midcontinent systems, along with an additional digital sports tier spot for system continuity, an HD version of the network, and some additional overflow channels, which broadcast University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University sports, carries Fighting Sioux Sports Network's broadcasts of University of North Dakota sports, along with many other smaller colleges in the Dakotas and Minnesota. Before the network launched, FSSN's broadcasts of UND sports were seen on Midco Sports Net's predecessor MC23, carried on channel 23 on most Midcontinent systems.