Mon July 9, 2012
Negotiations Continue in Effort to Keep WLKY on Cable
Another Louisville television station may soon be temporarily unavailable to Insight Cable customers.
WLKY's parent company Hearst Television Inc. is in negotiations with Insight's owner Time Warner Cable over the station's carriage agreement, which stipulates how much the cable provider pays to rebroadcast local content.
The previous agreement expired at the end of last month, but a bridge agreement was reached. That deal expires tonight.
We remain ready and available to continue negotiations, but we are currently at an impasse. We cannot predict whether negotiations will resume, or, if they resume, whether they will conclude successfully. We will provide updates as available on the status of negotiations.
Earlier this year, WDRB was in a similar situation. Negotiations continued after the station's contract expired and the channel was not available on Insight for several days. At the time, WDRB General Manager Bill Lamb said Time Warner was trying to send a message that the company would be a tougher business partner than Insight. WLKY General Manager Glenn Haygood says he's not sure Time Warner was trying to send a message, and the details of WLKY's situation are different from WDRB's. Hearst officials continue their talks with Time Warner, Haygood says, but a deal isn't currently on the horizon.
Haygood says about 60 percent of WLKY's audience watches on Insight.
These fights over retransmission of local content are fairly common, but that could change. Haygood pointed me to Hearst Television President David Barrett's testimony against House Resolution 3675 and its Senate counterpart S. 2008. The measures revise portions of the telecommunications act that govern carriage agreements. The legislation is currently in committee, but it's drawn fierce opposition from people in Barrett's situation, who say changing the requirements for carriage contracts would lead to local stations providing free content to cable providers.