Looking for the Big Ten Nework on Mediacom

Published 8:38 am Thursday, January 29, 2009

 I watched the Minnesota Gophers meet the Purdue Boilermakers some days ago. The only reason I was able to follow the Gophers without going to Williams Arena was that ESPN was broadcasting the game. As you know that is just about the only way that’s possible in this “neck of the woods” to watch, although almost all games are on the Big Ten network.

What is the Big Ten network? I don’t know. I’ve never seen it.

With a great deal of hoopla, Mediacom announced its signing of a contract with the Big Ten Network allowing them to show events emanating out of the Big Ten Conference. You know, the league that has 11 teams, but calls itself the Big Ten. Well, no matter, I was pleased that Mediacom was supplying its customers with this service, sat back and awaited the Big Ten Networks’ arrival. I didn’t expect to see any spring sports, but I did anticipate watching Gopher football. It didn’t happen.

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I got on the computer and googled Mediacom. Sure enough, there it was. In fact, Mediacom had an interactive site, where I could note my zip code and they would respond as to the Big Ten Networks’ arrival.

I did and was informed that the Big Ten Network was not available in my zip code. Well, for Pete’s sake, I already knew that. So from time to time I would revisit the site and always be given the same message. Finally one day the Big Ten Network question was discontinued. This can’t be good, I thought and called Mediacom. I don’t know if any of you have tried to contact them, but there is no way in the world that you can speak to any decision-makers. Believe me, I tried every conceivable way to get an e-mail or telephone number. No way.

I was able to talk to staff that field payments or technical questions. They were just doing their job for close to minimum wage and I couldn’t take my frustrations out on them. One lady told me that the Big Ten Network was available in other states, but not Preston.

I asked, “Are there any areas in Minnesota that are receiving the BTN?” She was a little hesitant, but then said “No.”

At that point I gave up, but did say that I was paying about $800 a year for expanded basic, not even the movie channels, and wondered when I might expect the BTN. She said, she didn’t know, but would pass along my comments.

A fat lot of good that will do. As the economy slows down, we with others have tried to cut down on outside expenses. Very seldom eat out and only trek up to Rochester on special occasions like meeting a Mayo Clinic appointment.

So TV, newspapers and the library are our primary entertainment. But the more we look toward TV for entertainment, news and special programs, the bigger the stranglehold Mediacom has on us and the less influence we have on them.

Enough of the soap box. I want to mention that the Gopher game I saw on ESPN could have been won by the Gophers if they had shot 3-pointers better than their 3-for-14. They were rushed by the defense and couldn’t get open looks. Perhaps that could have been solved by passing the ball inside.

Tubby Smith, Gopher coach agreed with me, after the game he was quoted as saying: “We’re probably have to go to an offense that makes us throw it inside.” I read that they did that against Indiana and won the game. That’s good to hear, but we sure won’t be able to follow the team’s offensive progress on Mediacom. Perhaps we can catch a 10-second clip on Pat Lund’s sportscast on KTTC.