Smith Media-owned stations in Utica, NY and Burlington, VT returned to Time Warner Cable systems over the weekend as the companies reached an agreement on a new retransmission contract.
Smith Media had pulled its northeastern stations–Fox-affiliate WFFF and ABC-affiliate WVNY in Burlington-Plattsburgh and NBC-affiliate WKTV in Utica–from TWC on December 15. Smith Media and TWC finally concluded their negotiations on Saturday evening.
Vic Vetters, Smith Media vice president and group manager, was happy to put the negotiations in the past. WKTV, and the other stations, he said, “can now focus singularly on what we do best.”
During the blackout, several local lawmakers put pressure on the FCC to try and speed up the negotiations. State Senator Joseph A. Griffo; Utica Mayor David R. Roefaro; Assemblywoman RoAnn M. Destito; and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. wrote a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, emphasizing their concern that the blackout limited local news.
While Smith Media stations were off of its cables systems, TWC imported Utica ABC-affiliate WUTR and Watertown, NY Fox-affiliate WNYF to Burlington and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton NBC-affiliate WBRE to Utica.