Three broadcast stations in Roanoke, Va., Mobile. Ala., and Providence, R.I., could go dark to Cox Communications customers in those areas on May 31 if the parties can't reach a retransmission consent agreement.
Retrans agreements for Media General stations WSLS (NBC) in Roanoke, WJAR (NBC) in Providence and WKRG (CBS) in Mobile are set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on May 31, according to Media General spokesman Ray Kozakewicz. He declined to give details on the negotiations.
Cox customers in Roanoke and Providence could miss out on NBC programming like the National Hockey League Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Summer Olympics if a deal isn't reached soon. Customers in Mobile could miss CBS prime time programming such as 60 Minutes, Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory if a pact isn't signed.
In a statement on its web site on May 21, WJAR said that it appeared that a deal was unlikely to be reached by the May 31 deadline.
"Our highly-rated television station is an important asset to our local community and it is unfortunate that Cox Communications does not recognize our fair market value," said WJAR General Manager Vic Vetters in a statement. "We look forward to continuing negotiations with Cox Communications to reach a deal before our contract expires. In the event that our station is no longer carried by Cox, viewers may continue to watch their local news, lifestyle and sports programs, as well as top-rated prime time and syndicated programming, over-the-air via antenna or by switching to an alternative pay-TV service provider."
Cox said in a statement that it hoped it could reach a deal before the May 31 deadline.
"At stake is what we feel is unreasonable compensaton for programming that is otherwaise available for free, over-the-air, and [we] are focused on securing an agreement that is fair to our customers," Cox said in a statement.