KXAN Back on Suddenlink

Suddenlink and LIN TV Corp. have finalized and signed a multi-year agreement that will allow various Suddenlink cable TV systems in central Texas to retransmit the signal of KXAN, the Austin NBC affiliate. This agreement covers both KXAN’s standard signal as well as its high-definition (HD) signal.

The overhwelming majority of affected Suddenlink customers live in and around Georgetown, Leander, and Pflugerville, Texas. As a result of this new agreement and a revised agreement with KCEN, the Temple NBC affiliate:

KXAN’s primary signal is returning to Channel 4 on Suddenlink’s line up in all three communities listed above.

KCEN’s primary signal is being moved to Channel 16 on the Georgetown and Leander line ups, and being removed entirely from the Pflugerville line up at KCEN’s request.

KXAN’s HD signal is being added to Channel 730 in all three communities, replacing KCEN’s HD signal.

See this related report from the Austin Business Journal.

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.

KXAN Update – Jan. 2

[Related Information]

This morning, Suddenlink’s negotiator reached out once again to her counterpart at LIN-TV, the Rhode-Island-based parent company of KXAN, requesting a discussion of next steps and how best to conclude negotiations so that KXAN can be returned immediately to Suddenlink customers who do not currently have an alternative for NBC programming. As of this afternoon, LIN-TV’s negotiator had not responded.

On a parallel track, other Suddenlink executives are exploring the possibility of adding a different NBC affiliate from a different market to the company’s cable line-ups in Georgetown, Leander, Pflugerville, and elsewhere.

When it Rains it Pours

Suddenlink continues its efforts to reach a deal with LIN-TV for the rights to add KXAN (Austin NBC) back to our line up. In the meantime, there has been a fiber cut identified between Georgetown and Pflugerville, Texas, affecting TV, Internet, and phone services in that area.

UPDATE 11:30 am, 1/2/08: The cut has been located in a span of underground fiber, and Suddenlink now has clearance to run a temporary aerial span to restore connectivity as soon as possible. We are hoping to complete that work in one to two hours, maximum.

UPDATE 1:05 pm, 1/2/08: Service has been restored to Georgetown and Leander. Suddenlink crews continue splicing fibers in order to restore full connectivity to all markets.

UPDATE 2:00 pm, 1/2/08: All active fibers have now been spliced and service should now be restored to all affected areas.


In ongoing negotiations through Sunday evening, Dec. 30, the owner of KXAN-TV declined repeated offers made by Suddenlink. They also (once again) declined the extension we requested, forcing us to remove their station from your line up under penalty of law and against our will. Any suggestion by KXAN that Suddenlink voluntarily pulled this station from your line up is a blatant misrepresentation of what has actually happened. (More detail below.)

Customers in communities without an alternative NBC station can pick up complimentary TV set-top antenna with installation instructions — on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last — at the locations listed here. (You can also watch full episodes of many of your favorite NBC shows online; check here for details.)

Customers in communities with an alternative network-affiliated TV station, please check here for relevant channel numbers.

Please know that Suddenlink has done everything in its power to prevent this from happening. We even tried to simplify the situation, asking for a deal that would keep KXAN on our cable systems serving Georgetown, Pflugerville, Leander, Lost Pines, and Jarrell — areas where there is no other NBC station available. Up until the last hour, KXAN’s owner refused to consider such a deal. To us, that seems to suggest they value their TV stations in other markets more than they value their viewers in Austin.

Looking ahead, to help return KXAN to our customers who do not have an alternative NBC station, Suddenlink is exploring all options, including whether or not LIN-TV’s actions in this situation have violated anti-trust laws. (LIN-TV is the parent company of KXAN.) Please stay tuned for other developments, and in the meantime, if you wish to ask KXAN and LIN-TV to return their station to Suddenlink’s line up, you can contact the station at 512-476-3636 and LIN-TV at 401-454-2880 or information@lintv.com. We will put their station back on our line up as soon they give us permission to do so.

Suddenlink Reaches for the Top

Suddenlink’s chief operating officer, Tom McMillin, spoke by phone and traded emails Sunday evening, Dec. 30, with Vincent Sadusky, the chief executive officer of LIN-TV, KXAN’s parent company.

Sadusky suggested that it is difficult for LIN-TV to address this situation in a timely manner during the holidays. In response, McMillin repeated Suddenlink’s request for a short-term extension from LIN, which would allow Suddenlink to legally keep KXAN on the cable company’s line up and thus take the pressure off of LIN executives.

Sadusky dismissed that suggestion.

Alternative TV Stations

Suddenlink customers in Clovis, New Mexico, who wish to continue watching their favorite CBS shows, please turn to Channel 5 on your cable TV line up.

Suddenlink customers in Brady and San Saba, Texas, who wish to continue watching their favorite NBC shows, please turn to Channel 9 on your cable TV line up.

Suddenlink customers in Caldwell and Rockdale, Texas, who wish to continue watching their favorite NBC shows, please turn to Channel 6 on your cable TV line up.

For Suddenlink customers in Junction, Texas, your favorite NBC shows will continue to be available on Channel 4 on your cable TV line up.

Complimentary Set-Top Antenna

If you no longer have access to KXAN (NBC) on your cable TV line up and also do not have an alternative NBC station, we are providing complimentary TV set-top antenna with installation instructions — available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last — at the following locations during the noted hours.

111 N. College St
Georgetown, TX 78626
New Year’s Day: 8:00 am – Noon
Normal Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

201 E. Walter Ave
Pflugerville, TX 78660
New Year’s Day: 8:00 am – Noon
Normal Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm; 2:30 pm – 6:00 pm

409 Crystal Falls Parkway
Leander, TX 78641
New Year’s Day: Closed
Jan. 2-4: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm; 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Normal Hours of Operation:
Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm; 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

221 East Main St.
Brenham, TX 77833
New Year’s Day: Closed
Normal Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday, 8:30 am – 5:30 pm


Status information below. Additional background information here. Also: see this report by Austin American-Statesman reporter Diane Holloway.

If you’ve recently visited the Web site of KXAN-TV, the Austin NBC affiliate, you may have noticed a potentially confusing message there about the future availability of this station on the line ups of certain Suddenlink cable systems. Here are the facts.

For customers of our Georgetown, Lost Pines, and Jarrell, Texas, cable systems:

Though our current agreement with the owner of KXAN-TV expires on December 31, we have been working for two months on a new agreement. We’ve made good progress on those discussions, and we still hope to finalize a new agreement on or before December 31. Failing that, we today (Dec. 28) asked the station’s owner to consider a short-term extension to our current agreement, so we all have adequate time to finalize the new agreement and so that you continue to have uninterrupted access to KXAN.

For customers of other relevant cable systems: [Read more…]