Sinclair Calls Buckeye Cable’s Retrans Attack Ads ‘Silly Antics’

By Kevin Eck 

Buckeye Cablesystem seems to be waging a very public battle against Sinclair Broadcasting in a fight over retrans fees for Sinclair’s NBC station WNWO.

The saga began when Sinclair pulled its newly acquired station off the Ohio based cable system last Sunday.

Buckeye, which is owned by Block Communications, started placing print ads in the Block-owned newspaper The Blade depicting Sinclair as the bad guy in the fight. (see the gallery of ads after the jump)


In one of the ads, Buckeye called WNWO a “low-viewership, FREE, over-the-air station with inferior on-air news talent.” In another, it painted Sinclair as a Grinch figure called “Sinclinch” and wrote, “The people of Metro Toledo like Christmas a lot, But the Sinclinch of Hunt Valley Maryland does not.” Sinclair is based in Hunt Valley, MD

Sinclair EVP and general counsel Barry Faber told TVSpy The Blade refused to allow his station group to buy space in order to give its side of the story.

Calling the tactics employed by Buckeye “juvenile” and “silly antics,” Faber told TVSpy the retrans fight is simple. He said it’s a business deal where one company doesn’t want to pay what another company is asking for.

Recently Brad Mefferd, chief administrative officer of Buckeye Cablesystems, and Faber appeared on Toledo radio station WSPD with each giving their side on the stalled negotiations. Mefferd told viewers Sinclair’s demands are unreasonable and Faber said Sinclair is only asking for what it’s worth. Listen here:

In addition to owning Buckeye Cablesystem and The Blade, Block also owns TV stations in Idaho, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. Faber said the WNWO negotiations are no different than Block’s Louisville station WDRB‘s recent retrans negotiations with Time Warner.

TVSpy has not heard back from Mefferd. We will update when we do.