Macon’s WPGA Losing Affiliation, Cable Partner

By Andrew Gauthier 

Broadcasting & Cable

It appears WPGA Macon will look a lot different in two weeks’ time. Cable provider Cox Communications is dropping the ABC outlet after WPGA’s affiliation agreements end on Jan. 1, 2010. WPGA is splitting from ABC because it refuses to cough up what the owner calls outrageous retransmission consent payments, and because of what it deems risqu fare on the network in prime.

The station is owned by Register Communications. President Lowell Register claims both snafus are a case of a small family-owned broadcaster being shoved aside by big business outfits. He says ABC compensated the station a modest amount for about 15 years, then announced it wanted a hefty sum for Register to continue its ABC affiliation in DMA #122.

“We certainly don’t have the wherewithal to pay the fees they’re demanding,” a frustrated Register said. “We’re a small family local TV station. We’re not in a position to pay hundreds of thousands a year for the right to air ABC programming.”

ABC has increasingly been pushing affiliates to cough up retrans cash as part of their affiliation agreements.

An ABC spokesperson said it was the network’s policy to never discuss negotiations. More…

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