Raycom In Retrans Standoff With Cox, Other Ops

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In the latest—but unlikely the last—retransmission-consent flap, Raycom Media is threatening to pull stations New Year’s Eve in several markets from several cable operators, including Cox Communications.

A number of the broadcaster’s TV station Web sites were warning viewers that cable systems were making plans drop its signals from their lineups.

For example, Raycom CBS affiliate WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge, La., told viewers on its web site that Cox had “plans to remove” it from its cable system midnight Dec. 31 as part of a retransmission-consent dispute.

Cox couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

Raycom’s WWBT-TV in Richmond, Va., also said its station could be dropped by Cox, as well as Metrocast and CWA Cable. And WTOL-TV in Toledo, Ohio, said that BTC Multimedia and OTEC could remove the station from their roster.

On its Web site, WAFB said that it was “seeking less than a penny per day per subscriber” in cash compensation from Cox. A penny-a-day in license fees seems to be the magic figure that many local broadcasters are seeking during this round of retransmission-consent talks.

WAFB cited license fees that cable operators pay for cable networks, including $2.91 for ESPN.

“Because WAFB-TV’s programming is more popular—in fact, many times far more popular—than the programming offered by any of these programming channels, WAFB-TV believes that its request of less than a penny per day per subscriber is very fair and reasonable,” the station said.

It was unclear in how many markets Raycom stations were engaged in retransmission-consent disputes.

Earlier this month, Cox was asked for a status report on its retransmission-consent talks.

“We are actively and optimistically negotiating a number of retransmission consent agreements with individual network affiliates and a couple of station groups,” Cox spokesman David Grabert said. “While we are facing some year-end deadlines, we are optimistic that deals will be concluded before year-end and/or that extensions will be granted.”

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