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Midcontinent Communications
Type Jointly owned by Midcontinent Media and Comcast
Founded 1931 Minneapolis, Minnesota
Headquarters Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Area served Minnesota
the Dakota states
Key people Pat McAdaragh, CEO
Industry Telecommunications, Cable TV, Internet
Products Cable television
Digital cable
High-definition television
Video on Demand

Midcontinent Communications is a provider of cable TV, internet, and general telephony services for home and business, largely serving the Dakota states, but also some communities in Minnesota. (the company is headquartered in Sioux Falls). Midcontinent does business in more than 200 communities and serves a total of more than 200,000 customers. It is a partnership between Midcontinent Media and Comcast.

Midcontinent Media (aka "Midco") 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, selling off the last of its radio holdings in 2004. Midco offers some limit basic SD channels and HD Locals "in-the-clear" QAM.

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 merged their cable operations in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Nebraska into Midcontinent Communications, a joint venture between both companies. Comcast later bought out 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 ([1]), 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 system in Minnesota including Balaton, Bemidji, Canby, Ely, Fairmont,International Falls, Littlefork, Sherburn, and surrounding communities. Other areas in Minnesota sold to Comcast. [2]

Midco previously provided paging service, starting in 1985, but sold its paging services to another South Dakota company, Vantek Communications, in 2004. Today, the former paging service is known as Midco Call Center. Midco Call Center is a national leader in outsourced customer service specializing in catalog orders and after hours message service. Midco Call Center now employs over 300 people in Sioux Falls.

Midcontinent Communications now serves both urban and rural communities and is the most-prominent cable TV provider in many of its service areas. It also provides telephone service, internet access (through its MidcoNet service), and leased data circuits via fiber-optic cable for business.

In much of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota Midcontinent offers MC23 universally over channel 23, which broadcasts University of South Dakota sports, and is affiliated with the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux Sports Network. During hours without sports programming MC23 carries ReelzChannel.

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