Central TX NBC Update

Suddenlink signed a long-term agreement today (Jan. 3) with the Temple, Texas, NBC affiliate KCEN, and hopes to add KCEN as early as this afternoon to the cable line ups of customers who have been without an NBC affiliate since Dec. 31.

“KCEN is an excellent TV station that we carry in other cable systems,” said Todd Cruthird, the vice president of operations for Suddenlink’s Texoma Region. “We are delighted to now make this station and the NBC programming it offers available to our customers in Georgetown and nearby areas.”

Cruthird added that Suddenlink’s agreement with KCEN gives the cable company permission to re-transmit KCEN’s standard and high-definition signals.

(Update, 4:45 pm CT, 1/3/08: The KCEN NBC signals are now confirmed on the Georgetown/Pflugerville/Leander system. The standard feed is on channel 4 and the HD feed is on channel 730.)

On Dec. 31, LIN-TV, the owner of KXAN (Austin’s NBC affiliate), forced Suddenlink to remove that station from its line up under penalty of law.

“Our past success in reaching agreements with other TV station owners gave us every confidence we would be able to reach an agreement with LIN-TV,” Cruthird said. “Unfortunately, LIN-TV declined repeated offers we made to them, refused to provide an extension so we could keep negotiating, and then forced us to remove KXAN. Immediately, we attempted to re-start negotiations with LIN.”

Among the cable company’s attempts to put an offer in front of LIN-TV that it would accept, the company yesterday (Jan. 2) submitted two new options. Under the first option, Suddenlink significantly increased its offer for KXAN only, in areas with no duplicate NBC station. Under the second option, Suddenlink offered KXAN its own, stand-alone channel for which LIN-TV could set the price and from which it would keep all money generated, including all customer fees and ad revenues. This morning, LIN-TV rejected both offers.

“By rejecting all of our proposals to date, including the two made yesterday, LIN-TV left us with no choice but to bring in another NBC affiliate,” said Cruthird.

Cruthird said alternative network affiliates are not always available, due to the nature of regulations governing the cable and broadcast TV industries. When an alternative station is available, the cable operator must then negotiate an agreement with the owner of the alternative station. The general manager of KCEN agreed to terms with Suddenlink this afternoon.