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TWC & WKTV Assign Blame But Remain Hopeful

Time Warner Cable Division Headquarters in East Syracuse, New York
Photo, Business Wire

WKTV is off the air for many of its customers and Time Warner Cable Representatives say the station is to blame for walking away from the negotiation table and leaving their customers in a lurch.

Stephanie Salanger, Central New York Communications Manager for Time Warner Cable said what many people don’t know is that TWC pays for all the programs they see on TV, but unfortunately this deal they attempted to reach with WKTV didn’t work. She said, “WKTV, which is owned by Smith Broadcasting has decided to walk away from the table and not negotiate and not allow us to carry their channels in certain communities so that’s an important point because a lot of people are saying how can Time Warner Cable  do this–we don’t do that. They alone hold the power to pull their programming. They own it so, they can pull it. We buy it from them for our customers.”

Salanger said putting customers in the middle of these negotiations is an antagonistic tactic used too often by broadcasters to strong arm companies like TWC to pay an excessive amount to carry their programming.  She said it was not a fair market value amount because ultimately the cost would be passed along to TWC customers.

She said ultimatley the station is only hurting its customers and advertisers for pulling the plug on allowing TWC to carry their programming. She said, “We’re committed to reaching an agreement as quickly as possible but with broadcasters like Smith demanding higher and higher fees even for shows that they provide free over the air we just have to say enough is enough. So, that’s where we’re at right now, at a stand still and it only ends up cutting off their nose to spite their face frankly.” She added that there is still hope for a positive outcome for all parties involved.

Vic Vetters, Vice President and Group Manager for Smith Media, LLC said what his station has been seeking since the beginning of the negotiations is fair value for the programming it provides the people of this community. He said, “WKTV signal is broadcasts free over the air. Time Warner takes that signal and sells it. They sell it to their customers and they make money based on using WKTV’s signal.” He went onto to say, “They are scaring viewers saying, ‘your cable bills are going to go up ten bucks, fifteen bucks a month because of the extraordinary demands that WKTV is making upon us’–the reality of that is something quite less.” He did agree with Salanger about an optimistic outlook on how the negotiations, which are still on-going will iron out. He said, “Both sides are exchanging information today even. This is an on-going process. Today is probably best described as a day where every one is regrouping from the failure to make the deadline.”

In the meantime many residents are still left without their regular programming waiting for both sides to reach an agreement.

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