Cox Avoids Loss of Mo. Nexstar Stations


Gaining better market contiguity overall and immediate relief from an ongoing retransmission-consent battle, Cox Communications Inc. has reassigned its systems in Missouri into a different division.

Cox’s Missouri systems, serving 24,000 subscribers, are now operationally part of Cox Kansas after previously residing within Middle America Cox, which now caters to the MSO’s customers in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, according to spokesman David Grabert.

The added benefit of the move is that a pair of TV stations owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. and carried by Cox are now covered by Cox Kansas’ retransmission agreement with the station owner through year’s end, thereby averting the potential for blackouts for KSNF (NBC affiliate) and KODE (ABC affiliate).

These stations -- which were slated to go dark Tuesday and which carried crawl messages alerting viewers to that possibility -- serve the Joplin, Mo., through Pittsburgh, Kan., markets.

With monthly subscriber fees and advertising revenue at the center of the dispute,

Cox, effective Jan. 1, was forced to pull the signals of NBC affiliate KRBC in Abilene and CBS affiliate KLST in San Angelo, Texas. KLST is owned by Nexstar, which also manages KRBC for Mission Broadcasting Inc.

Cable One Inc. is also in the middle of its own retransmission-consent dispute with Nexstar.

Graybert said Cox officials met with Nexstar executives for the first time Monday. While characterizing the session as “unproductive,” he added that Cox remains hopeful that some resolution can be reached.

Nexstar officials could not be reached by press time.

While the Missouri systems will still be managed out of facility in Branson, Mo., they now report to Cox Kansas vice president Kimberly Edmonds, according to Graybert.