Statement Regarding Ongoing Negotiations with Buckeye Cablesystem:
On Monday, Buckeye Cable ceased to carry WNWO-TV after a failure to reach an agreement on a new retransmission consent agreement. Buckeye had been carrying WNWO pursuant to a several month extension after the prior agreement to carry the station ended August 31, 2013.
In the absence of Buckeye carrying WNWO, viewers may continue to watch the station for free over-the-air or by signing up with one of Buckeyeâ??s competitors, all of which have successfully negotiated for the right to continue to carry WNWO and other stations owned by WNWOâ??s parent company, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.. These competitors include AT&Tâ??s U-Verse , DirecTV and Dish Network . WNWO points out that although Buckeye is not prepared to pay an appropriate rate for the right to carry WNWO, they do appear to recognize the importance of the station to their subscribers by offering to provide those subscribers with free antennas to continue to watch the programming.
â??It is unfortunate that Buckeye chooses to send so much of their subscribersâ?? fees to low-rated, cable channels with no connection to the Toledo market,â?? stated Chris Topf, General Manager of WNWO, â??yet they are not prepared to fairly compensate a local broadcaster. We not only provide the Toledo community with popular exclusive programming like Sunday Night Football, the Voice, the Today Show, the Biggest Loser, Americaâ??s Got Talent, as well as locally produced news, but we provide local jobs, pay local taxes and are involved with numerous local groups, charities and events. Plus, in less than two months we will be broadcasting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games from Sochi Russiaâ??
â??Although we would very much like to reach agreement with Buckeye Cable on a renewal,â?? added Barry Faber, EVP and General Counsel of Sinclair, â??increased financial obligations to our content suppliers make it impossible for us to continue to accept the below-market fees Buckeye has offered to pay us for the right to carry our stations, despite their re-selling them to their paying subscribers at much higher rates. We are simply seeking appropriate compensation from Buckeye, given that published reports indicate they are paying broadcasters far less for their extremely popular programming than they pay for other programming with far fewer viewers. We think it is time for cable customers to insist that Buckeye use their subscription fees in a rational manner to acquire the programming the subscribers actually watch on a regular basis, rather than for a lot of channels that they rarely or never tune into.â??
Buckeye can be reached at (419) 724-9800 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.