Consolidation of TV Stations Attracts Opposition from American Cable Association

by Kate Knable  on Monday, Feb. 18, 2013 12:00 am  

The American Cable Association has asked the FCC to address issues surrounding competing TV stations.

Many of the changes coming to the Little Rock TV market due to the consolidation of the operations of KLRT-TV, Channel 16, and KARK-TV, Channel 4, are yet to be seen.

As you’ll recall, Mission Broadcasting of Westlake, Ohio, owns KLRT, and Nexstar Broadcasting of Irving, Texas, owns KARK. However, in January, both stations began sharing staff and facilities.

And that kind of thing isn’t sitting well with the American Cable Association of Washington, D.C.

The ACA this month sent a letter asking the Federal Communications Commission to change the way it recognizes in-market coordination of competing TV stations. The ACA asked the FCC to acknowledge such coordination “as creating an attributable ownership interest.”

In its letter, the ACA listed Nexstar as a party to 13 of the 48 instances across the U.S. where such coordination has occurred. Mission was Nexstar’s partner in 12 of the 13 instances.

Here’s a key part of the letter:

“Big 4 stations provide essential programming to our companies and our customers, without which we could not viably compete against other [multichannel video programming distributors]. When two non-commonly owned Big 4 stations in a single market coordinate their retransmission consent negotiations, what little bargaining power we have to secure retransmission consent at fair market value is materially reduced. This is because the coordinating stations can withdraw two Big 4 stations simultaneously.”

Representatives of cable providers Comcast and Suddenlink declined to comment on whether they thought Nexstar’s new partnership with Mission in Little Rock would change retransmission negotiations. Representatives of Dish did not respond to requests for comment.

Mike Vaughn, the general manager over both KLRT and KARK, also did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.



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