WDRB Boss to Local Stations: You're Next
Time Warner Cable is always negotiating new contracts with TV stations and networks. We’ve reached hundreds of agreements with other broadcasters without broadcaster blackouts, but what Block Communications, (the owner of WDRB and WMYO) is demanding is out of line.
Interestingly, Block Communications is the owner of Buckeye Cable, a cable television operator in [Ohio]. When Block is negotiating as a cable operator, they too believe that excessive retransmission consent fees are out of line: In a 2008 dispute with WNWO in Toledo, Ohio, Buckeye officials said: “Just like cable channels, broadcasters are permitted to ask us for compensation before they grant us permission. This demand WNWO is asking for is very unreasonable and exceeds the value for agreements with other Toledo area broadcasters.”
Unfortunately, instead of continuing negotiations, Block Communications has chosen to black out their signals from our customers. Time Warner Cable has offered to continue carrying WDRB and WMYO at the same price paid previously by Insight Communications, which we purchased earlier this year. Block Communications has refused that offer and is demanding higher prices – for the exact same programming, most of which is also available for free over the air or online. We don’t think that’s fair. We think it’s wrong to put viewers in the middle of business negotiations. We know our customers are tired of these public contract disputes – and so are we.
While we hope to reach an agreement in this negotiation soon, we’re determined to stand up for our customers against Block’s demands and to try to hold down the cost of TV.