UPDATED: Newport Television Negotiations

Suddenlink has received a short-term extension to its current contract with Newport Television. As a result, the following stations will continue to be available to Suddenlink customers, depending on where they live: KASN, KGPE, KLRT, KMTW, KMYT, KOKI, KSAS, WLMT, WOAI, or WPTY. We are hopeful that a long-term agreement can be finalized after the turn of the year.

UPDATED: Status of Local TV Station Contracts

In the last two months, we have completed new contracts covering more than 100 local TV stations, now including Meredith TV stations KPHO, KCTV, KSMO, and WSMV; and Hoak TV stations KALB, KNOE, and KAQY.

Suddenlink and Meredith Reach Agreement

Suddenlink is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement in principle on a long-term contract with Meredith. As a result, Meredith TV stations — including KPHO, KCTV, KSMO, and WSMV — will continue to be available to Suddenlink customers. We look forward to continuing our partnership with these stations and delivering their programming to our customers.

Suddenlink takes seriously the trust our customers place in us and the responsibility we have to the communities we serve. We also want to thank our customers for their patience and support during these negotiations and assure them that, as a result of the new agreement, there will be no changes to recently announced rate adjustments.

Suddenlink and Hoak Reach Agreement

Suddenlink is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement in principle on a long-term contract with Hoak Media. As a result, Hoak TV stations — including KALB, KNOE, and KAQY — will continue to be available to Suddenlink customers. We look forward to continuing our partnership with these stations and delivering their programming to our customers.

Suddenlink takes seriously the trust our customers place in us and the responsibility we have to the communities we serve. We also want to thank our customers for their patience and support during these negotiations and assure them that, as a result of the new agreement, there will be no changes to recently announced rate adjustments.

UPDATED: Hoak TV Stations

CURRENT INFORMATION

We have reached an agreement in principle with Hoak Media. Please click here for more.

PRIOR INFORMATION

Suddenlink is involved in good-faith negotiations to renew its contract with Hoak Media, which owns several TV stations, including KALB, KAQY, and KNOE. To date, we have completed contracts with other broadcast owners, covering more than 100 local TV stations. As with those others, we are seeking contract terms from Hoak that are fair to our customers, at a price we hope our customers can afford. And if we can’t establish a new contract by Dec. 31, we will ask Hoak for an extension of the current contract, until a new one is in place. An extension would keep these stations available to our customers, which is our number-one goal.

UPDATED: Meredith TV Stations

CURRENT INFORMATION

We have reached an agreement in principle with Meredith. Please click here for more.

PRIOR INFORMATION

Suddenlink is involved in good-faith negotiations to renew its contract with Meredith, which owns several TV stations, including KPHO, KCTV, KSMO, and WSMV. To date, we have completed contracts with other broadcast owners, covering more than 100 local TV stations. As with those others, we are seeking contract terms from Meredith that are reasonable, at a price we hope our customers can afford. And if we can’t establish a new contract by Dec. 31, we will ask Meredith for an extension of the current contract, until a new one is in place. An extension would keep these stations available to our customers, which is our number-one goal.

Don’t Take Away Our Games, Group Tells FCC

The Sports Fans Coalition — which bills itself as “the American sports fan’s advocate in the D.C. public policy arena” — has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to prohibit broadcasters from pulling signals, or blocking access to sporting events, during retransmission-consent disputes with cable operators.

Such a prohibition would be in the public’s interest, the group argued, and the best solution for fans, whose tax money often helps build sports stadiums.

Earlier this year, Suddenlink joined several other companies and organizations to ask the FCC to update the rules on retransmission consent — including a requirement that broadcast signals not be taken away from consumers during disputes.

The FCC and Retransmission Consent

We’ve discussed this topic before on the pages of this blog. Michael Willner looks at the latest, pegged to remarks by the FCC’s chairman at the National Association of Broadcasters’ convention in Las Vegas earlier this week. Per Willner ..

Genachowski explained to the audience of broadcasters that there are “legitimate questions” about the current regulations that govern the retransmission consent process — specifically concerns about the impact of broadcasters’ retransmission demands on the price of cable subscriptions and the service interruptions that result when negotiations falter.

FCC Chairman: Retrans Under ‘Active Consideration’

At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing yesterday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said that his agency …

is increasingly hearing arguments that the [retransmission consent] framework in place “for a long time” may have “lost pace” with marketplace changes. He said the commission is beginning the process of reviewing whether there are improvements that can be made and “whether reforms are sensible.”

Here’s hoping they do just that.

Reforming Retransmission Consent

Suddenlink has joined several other companies and organizations — including Public Knowlege, a consumer advocacy group — to ask the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to update the rules for what’s commonly known as “retransmission consent.”

Before cable operators and other TV service providers can “retransmit” local TV station signals to their customers, a 1992 laws requires them to first secure the permission or “consent” of each TV station’s owner. In recent years, TV station owners have demanded higher and higher compensation, and if they don’t get what they want, they’ve increasingly refused (or threatened to refuse) their consent, leaving TV service providers with a difficult choice: pay up and pass along the costs or lose the station and its exclusive programs.

One such situation recently affected cable customers in the NYC metro area, when Disney pulled the signal for WABC from Cablevision, from Sunday morning until 15 minutes into the Oscars’ ceremony telecast.

Similar situations have affected or nearly affected Suddenlink customers, including in 2006 in West Virginia (before this blog was launched); in 2007, outside of Austin, Texas; and in multiple communities in December 2008.

In light of these situations, we’ve joined with others to ask the FCC (a) to implement new dispute resolution mechanisms, such as compulsory arbitration or an expert tribunal; and (b) to require continued carriage of broadcast signals during negotiations or disputes, to help ensure uninterrupted programming for consumers.