UPDATED Customer Notice

Dec. 26, 2008: Suddenlink and Gray Television have successfully reached an agreement that covers WSAZ, WTAP, WITN, and KBTX, among others.

 

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Dec. 24, 2008: Suddenlink officials are currently optimistic that a mutually acceptable agreement will be reached with Gray Television, on behalf of its various TV stations.

 

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Gray Television is the owner of several TV stations carried on Suddenlink cable systems. The Gray TV stations reaching the most Suddenlink customers include:

    WSAZ (NBC) — carried in parts of West Virginia and Kentucky

    WTAP (NBC) — carried primarily in Parkersburg, W. Va.

    WITN (NBC) — carried in eastern North Carolina

    KBTX (CBS) — carried primarily in Bryan/College Station, Texas

All or most of the listed TV stations are either (a) running crawls on the bottom of their screens, and/or (b) posting information on their Web sites, warning that Suddenlink customers may no longer be able to receive these TV stations via cable effective January 1, 2009. We’re not sure why Gray Television and its TV stations have decided to take this step.

Suddenlink sent Gray a proposal on Dec. 8 for a new contract. We have called them regularly since then, requesting an update. Without further notice, Gray TV stations started warning our customers of a perceived problem with the negotiations. This situation simply does not make sense.

Regardless, consistent with our standing pledge to customers, Suddenlink will not voluntarily drop any of the listed TV stations. To the contrary: We are committed to continuing good-faith negotiations with Gray Television and to doing everything we can to reach a mutually acceptable agreement with them by the expiration of our current contract on Dec. 31.

Please feel free to contact Gray, or its TV stations listed below, and encourage them to do the same.

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Roger Sheppard, Vice President and General Manager of WTAP, submitted the following statement on Friday morning, Dec. 19: “WTAP is hopeful that an agreement can be reached with Suddenlink before the Dec. 31, 2008 deadline, to ensure no interruption of service to viewers of WTAP (NBC), FOX Parkersburg and My5.”

 

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In addition to the phone numbers listed here, you can click on each of the company/station names to visit relevant contact-information Web pages. Thank you.

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NOTE: We negotiate with Gray Television and other broadcast-station owners to help hold down the cost to our customers; please reference this page for more information on that topic.

 

Comments

  1. April Pyles says

    Perhaps Suddenlink’s broadcast station surcharge, not to exceed $1.95 per month, has something to do with Gray’s reluctance to agree to a contract? Why is the customer being strapped with this surcharge?

  2. SFYI Editor says

    April — The amount listed for the broadcast station surcharge is a maximum estimate, reflecting the total anticipated charges from all of the TV stations in a given area. The final agreement with Gray will represent a portion of that total amount. That’s why we’re negotiating – to keep the cost to the customer as low as possible. Net: If we negotiate amounts less than the total surcharge announced, we’ll lower the actual surcharge, when it’s applied to February bills. More info on this topic can be found here.

  3. Susan says

    I’m tired of being held hostage by “King Roger” and the interns at WTAP. It’s time to get a new NBC station … or let go of Suddenlink. I’ve never paid extreme charges like this in any other part of the country and don’t plan to start now!

  4. SFYI Editor says

    Susan — We appreciate your frustration with the broadcast-station charges, which are part of a new and expanding trend. I don’t know if you’ll be able to view it without a subscription, but this trade magazine article provides some perspective. At Suddenlink alone, we’re expecting to be charged in the neighborhood of $20 million in 2009, and we and our customers will not be the only ones forced to pay.

    Regardless, our pledge to our customers stands: We will not profit from this situation and we will make sure we do not collect more from this surcharge than we pay to the owners of broadcast TV stations.