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Will City of Utica Pull The Plug On Time Warner?

Utica, NY (WIBX) – The City of Utica may look to begin contract negotiations with other cable service providers if an agreement is not reached between Time Warner and Smith Media, the owner of WKTV News Channel 2.

Mayor David Roefaro says the current franchise agreement between the city and Time Warner has expired and is in the negotiation proceess.
“…And, unless I can assure my residents that they will receive their local news, and not Pennsylvania’s, I am going to be in contact with other signal providers vetting whether or not we can accomodate the city. I’m asking Time Warner, in its compacity as one of the nation’s largest companies, to be a good corporate citizen and go back to the table with Smith Media and work these issues out.”

WIBX previously reported that Smith Media pulled WKTV and CW 11 from Time Warner customers in Utica on December 15th.

When asked why Time Warner would be penalized, or replaced, based on the decision of Smith Media to pull its own programming, Roefaro said that was not his understanding and his objective is to bring both parties to the negotiating table.

When pressed further about an negotiations between the city and ‘other’ cable service providers, Roefaro said it’s something he would look into in the future and said that process has not yet begun.

“Our first avenue is to see if Time Warner and Smith Media can solve their differences and put the channel back on.”

Meantime, Roefaro and state legislators RoAnn Destito, Joseph Griffo and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente have written the FCC asking it to step in and bring both parties together or resolve the dispute through binding arbitration.

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