Contract negotiations between cable company Mediacom and KOMU/Channel 8 fell through Monday night, and Mediacom subscribers lost access to the station early Tuesday morning.
After a weekend contract extension, the two parties were unable to reach an agreement by a midnight deadline, but negotiations were expected to continue.
"Although our good faith efforts have been rebuffed thus far, we will continue to seek an acceptable agreement," said Marty Siddall, KOMU's general manager.
KOMU, an NBC affiliate, is seeking financial compensation for its programming from Mediacom.
Mediacom spokeswoman Phyllis Peters was reluctant to comment Monday evening on the status of the negotiations.
"Consumers are being put in the middle of a business dispute," Peters said. "It's really regrettable."
But she said, "Just because the messages are there doesn't mean we will be bullied into a bad deal."
Matt Garrett, the director of audience development at KOMU, said the station was keeping viewers apprised of the situation.
"The FCC encourages stations to keep people informed and reach out to viewers," he said.
Under the previous two-year contract, Mediacom has provided KOMU with services in exchange for programming. Services included advertisement spots on Mediacom channels, and a fiber optic line from the KOMU station to both the MU campus and the Mediacom office in Columbia.
KOMU's affiliation with MU is part of the dispute. Mediacom has stated that the station is a tax-supported, nonprofit organization.
"I just have to believe it's a different equation for for-profit stations, as compared to KOMU," Peters said.
According to KOMU, the station is not supported by tax dollars but is self-sufficient and self-funded.
Garrett said that the main goal for KOMU is fair compensation for its programming. The total figure is based on an equation that involves a time frame and other factors including the number of subscribers.
While both parties say they are maintaining an optimistic outlook for the negotiations, Garrett spoke with realism Monday evening.
"We still have a lot of ground to cover," Garrett said.