Policy

TWC Faces 30 Drops In Sinclair Dispute

12/20/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

Time Warner Cable officials
will spend the holidays fighting retransmission-
consent fires, trying to keep about 30
broadcast stations in its territory from going
dark in the New Year.

The MSO’s biggest battle is with Sinclair
Broadcast Group, which owns or operates
about 30 stations in TWC markets, such as-
Buffalo, Cincinnati and San Antonio.

In a smaller dispute, four Smith Mediaowned
stations in Utica, N.Y. (NBC and The
CW) and Burlington, Vt. (Fox and ABC) are
pulling their signals on Dec. 15. Some viewers
in Central New York are receiving the Wilkes-
Barre, Pa., NBC affiliate in the interim.

Smith Media said it is in ongoing discussions
with Time Warner Cable and is confident an agreement can be reached.

Sinclair stations are scheduled to go dark
on Dec. 31 if an agreement can’t be reached.
Sinclair first suggested arbitration on Dec.
13, but pulled back that offer after Time Warner
Cable requested a series of conditions,
the biggest of which was that only Sinclair’s
Big Four major-network affiliates be included.

About half of the Sinclair stations in Time
Warner Cable territory are The CW and
MyNetworkTV affiliates, to which TWC has
offered “must-carry” status.

“The idea of arbitration right now is a completely
dead issue,” Sinclair executive vice
president and general counsel Barry Faber
said on Friday (Dec. 16).

TWC’s Maureen Huff said, “We’d still like
to reach an agreement or enter into arbitration
with Sinclair, so that we can provide our
customers with uninterrupted programming
and we’re hoping that Sinclair will begin to act
in a more reasonable manner.”

October