New Year’s Resolutions: A Look Retrans Deals Left Undone

By Kevin Eck 

CableFax has put together a list of some retrans deals that remain unsettled.

While there’ still time for some on the list to avoid the dreaded blackout, others have already devolved into pissing matches (see Buckeye and Sinclair). Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what 2014 brings.

Cable One and Lockwood Broadcasting: If a deal isn’t reached by midnight Dec 31, Cable One could lose NBC affil KTEN (North Texas, Southeast Oklahoma) as well as ABC Texoma and CW Texoma. At summer’s end, Cable One faced a potential dustup with Quincy Newspapers (KTIV NBC affil), but the two were able to work out a new agreement and avoid a blackout. However, the MSO has shown it’s not afraid of a programming fight. Turner nets, including TNT, TBS and Cartoon, were off Cable One for most of October as the two wrangled over a renewal of their contract.
Cablevision and Meredith: Meredith-owned WFSB, a CBS affiliate out of Hartford, CT, started making noise this week over a retrans contract that expires at midnight Dec. 31. “We will continue to negotiate with Cablevision. Unfortunately, we do not know if, or when, we will reach an agreement. In the meantime, we hope you will continue supporting local television and watch us through alternative means,” said a message on WFSB’s website. The majority of Cablevision’s CT customers receive CBS programming from WCBS Channel 2.
Charter and Cox Media Group: Charter has a contract expiring with Cox Media, a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. MSO Cox Communications also is a Cox Enterprises subsidiary. Oakland, CA, Fox affiliate KTVU is warning viewers that Charter customers may lose it as well as KICU on Jan 1.
Charter and Pappas: Charter has a storm brewing in Nebraska, where it could lose Fox affil KFXL and ABC affil NTV. These same stations were off DirecTV for a couple weeks in April ’12. The broadcaster said the two have been negotiating for several weeks. As with many of these, the contract expires at midnight on Dec 31.
Buckeye and Sinclair: Sinclair’s WNWO, an NBC affil in Northwest Ohio, has been dark on Buckeye since Dec. 16. Sinclair recently purchased the station from Barrington Broadcasting in a wave of broadcast consolidation. Buckeye claims Sinclair is demanding 10 times more than what WNWO received before the sale.
DISH and Bonten: DISH is in its third week without Bonten stations, including NBC affil WCYB.