KETV-TV Channel 7 and KETV-DT Channel 20, which are among Omaha's leading analog and digital television stations, respectively, on Sunday announced that the digital high definition signal of KETV-DT is no longer being carried on Cox cable television systems.
The removal of the station’s digital signals from the Cox system is the result of unsuccessful negotiations between representatives of Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc., KETV-TV's parent company, and Cox. Hearst-Argyle is seeking fair and reasonable terms from Cox in return for allowing Cox to carry KETV-DT's programming and charge its subscribers for access to that programming.
So as not to inconvenience a large number of its viewers, Hearst-Argyle will allow Cox to continue to retransmit KETV-TV's primary analog signal while the companies continue to work in good faith toward a resolution of retransmission consent terms. However, Cox has not agreed to terms with Hearst-Argyle for the carriage of KETV-DT's valuable high-definition digital programming
"We're greatly disappointed that Cox could not arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution," said Joel Vilmenay, KETV-TV/DT president and general manager. "Our station is a leader in our market and we've made substantial investments to bring our viewers high definition digital programming. Cox has been actively promoting to current and prospective subscribers the addition of our digital channel to its lineup, for an additional monthly fee, and we're certainly supportive of that. But they won't come to terms with us on providing fair consideration for that right. To allow any re-distributor of our station’s digital signal to benefit economically from our efforts without providing us a reasonable contract for that right would be unacceptable for us."
"We sincerely hope we and Cox can return to negotiations quickly so as not to deprive Cox cable customers of high definition programming," Vilmenay added. "However, our viewers can still receive our high-definition signal using an appropriate tuner or antenna."
Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc. owns 26 television stations, and manages an additional three television and two radio stations, in geographically diverse U.S. markets. The company's television stations reach approximately 18 percent of U.S. TV households, making it one of the largest U.S. television station groups. Hearst-Argyle owns 12 ABC affiliated stations, and manages an additional ABC station owned by Hearst Corporation, and is the largest ABC affiliate group. The company owns 10 NBC affiliates, and is the second-largest NBC affiliate owner, and also owns two CBS affiliates.
Hearst-Argyle's stations are recognized news leaders. The station group has been honored with three consecutive Walter Cronkite Awards, presented by the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication, for excellence in television political journalism, and is the only group to have received the award since its inception. Hearst-Argyle stations also are the recipients of many of television’s other highest awards for excellence in journalism, programming and community service, including the Peabody, the du Pont-Columbia Journalism Award, the Sigma Delta Chi Award, the Gabriel, the Ad Council Silver Bell, the National Headliner Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award and the EMMY.
Hearst-Argyle also is a leader in the convergence of local broadcast television and the Internet through its partnership with Internet Broadcasting Systems, and in the application of digital broadcast spectrum for new local informational services through its Weather Plus partnership with NBC and various NBC affiliate groups.
Hearst-Argyle is majority owned by Hearst Corporation. Hearst-Argyle Series A Common Stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "HTV." HTV debt is rated investment grade by Moody's (Baa3), Standard & Poor's (BBB-) and Fitch (BBB-), each with a stable outlook. The company's Web address is www.hearstargyle.com.
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