Cable One Inc. plans to permanently replace two Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. TV stations it had to drop — due to an ongoing retransmission-consent dispute — with The WB Network and UPN affiliates, at one system, according to an MSO official.
“In Vinita, Okla., and Independence, Kan., the Nexstar stations will never come back,” said Tom Basinger, vice president of Cable One’s central division. “So we have begun in Independence to put WB and UPN programming on those two channels.”
In addition, the other four systems that Cable One has in the Joplin, Mo., area have begun offering previews of networks offered on the MSO’s digital tier on the channel slots that previously carried Nexstar’s ABC and NBC affiliates, KODE and KSNF.
“We’re beginning to move forward with replacement programming of one sort or other, either on a temporary preview basis or on a permanent basis,” Basinger said.
Right now, those Cable One systems are running SoapNet and the Hallmark Channel in the channel slots that have been vacant since the Nexstar stations were dropped Jan. 1.
Cable One’s systems in Vinita and Independence are actually in the Tulsa, Okla., DMA, according to Basinger. But they had been carrying Nexstar’s two stations out of Joplin in addition to carrying the NBC and ABC stations in Tulsa, essentially having duplicates of those two broadcasters’ signals.
The 6,000-subscriber Independence system had never carried the WB and UPN because their Tulsa stations were located 75 miles outside of the city and their signals weren’t very strong until a recent technical improvement.
Now, those Cable One systems can offer those WB and UPN stations, Basinger said.
Cox Communications Inc. is in a similar fight with Nexstar, and had to drop the two Nexstar stations, in Abilene and San Angelo, Texas. Cox has replaced the stations with HBO Family.