Negotiations with cable providers and stations is normally a game that just plays out in stages. The station says if it can’t work out an agreement with XYZ Cable Company their broadcasts will end.
Miraculously, the parties reach an agreement right before the deadline and it is business as usual.
Only this time, officials from KMBC-TV, sister station KCWE-TV and the parent Hearst Corporation were unable to reach an agreement with Time Warner and those and related stations went off the air at 11:59 Monday night (7/9).
Instead of viewers waking up to KC’s top-rated morning news show on KMBC, they were treated to offerings from the Hallmark Channel and Great American Country on KCWE. The channels impacted are: 12 (KMBC), 1012 (KMBC HD), 7 (KCWE), 1007 (KCWE HD), 975 (THIS TV Kansas City), 985 (METV Kansas City).
This time it seems as if neither party flinched. KMBC says it granted an extension to Time Warner through the 4th of July, but the details still could not be worked out.
Kansas City Star veteran journalist Steve Everly reported that Time Warner says Hearts “demanded a 300 percent increase in fees to carry its stations.”
“Hearst Television (which owns KMBC) chose to black out their signals from our customers rather than continue negotiations, despite their CEO saying just two weeks ago that broadcaster blackouts are unfair to consumers,” Dave Borchardt, a spokesman for Time Warner, told Everly.
KMBC has countered by listing the phone numbers of competing cable companies where viewers can call for service and dump Time Warner.
This impasse could also sting KMBC in the pocketbook because it is in the midst of the all-important July TV sweeps period and will also have to make good to its advertisers. It is also not a good time to be off the air and viewers switching channels to other stations for their news.
Here is the official notice on the KMBC site:
Notice to Time Warner Cable subscribers: Negotiations for the renewal of the agreement that authorized Time Warner to provide its subscribers with our local news, ABC network, CW network and other programming broadcast by KMBC-TV and KCWE-TV are at an impasse.
The authorization for carriage of our signal expires tonight at midnight. We previously granted Time Warner an extension of that authorization through tonight to avoid inconveniencing Time Warner subscribers and disrupting viewing plans, especially over the July 4th holiday week, and in the hope that we would reach agreement during the extension period. We remain ready and available to continue negotiations. 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.
We remind Time Warner subscribers that KMBC-TV’s and KCWE-TV’s programming remains available to viewers for free over the air, by other cable operators, and on DIRECTV and DISH Network.
Here is a news release issued by KMBC at 6 p.m. (7/10): TWKMBCPR