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Tough Talk Continues Between WDRB and Time Warner

WDRB General Manager Bill Lamb told the Courier-Journal yesterday that his station will likely be back on Time Warner Cable "within days."It's been one day, and things seem to be devolving. Today, Lamb posted an open letter on the WDRB website that outlines the talks between his station and Time Warner. The two are at an impasse over how much Time Warner should pay WDRB to rebroadcast its content. 

We want to be paid a low-end fair market value for our stations going forward and nothing more. We aren't greedy. For example, we only asked for a fraction of what Time Warner pays to ESPN or Fox News or TBS. We would accept a considerably lower fee than we believe Time Warner has already paid for significantly weaker-rated Fox stations. And we offered to give them WMYO for free!


We want the public to know that we are required to pay Fox a per-subscriber retransmission fee in order for WDRB to retain the affiliation. Fox, in turn, will use that money to invest in better programming and to secure better sporting events for broadcast. We have asked for a modest increase in our fee, but 100 percent of the increase goes to the Fox Network -- we keep none of it.

  The letter goes on to give a few more details of the talks, including this tersely-worded response Time Warner allegedly sent in regard to WDRB's latest offer: "Send whatever but I can assure you that we won't do it."


In response, Time Warner gave the following statement to the Courier:


This issue is plain and simple: WDRB is off Time Warner Cable right now because its owners decided to pull the signal when we didn’t agree to pay them the money they demanded."


But, as Chris Otts writes, the statement does not address some of the specific allegations in Lamb's letter.


WDRB is also in the news this week for nabbing sports columnists Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford from the Courier-Journal. While it's certainly a coup for WDRB, stories about the hires mostly mention the Time Warner impasse, with Crawford and others saying they expect a resolution soon. 


Gabe Bullard is the director of news and editorial strategy.