Could Frontier Subscribers Lose KOMO, KATU?


Viewers to two major ABC affiliates in the Pacific Northwest that subscribe to Frontier Communications could be shut out of receiving this stations come January 1.

In twin statements appearing on the websites of Sinclair Broadcast Group‘s KATU-2 in Portland, Ore., and KOMO-4 in Seattle, each station explains:

The retransmission agreement with Frontier Communications to carry the stations expires December 31, 2016, and the station does not expect that the station will be able to reach agreements with Frontier Communications that allows for further carriage of these stations.

The station regrets the inconvenience this will cause to Frontier Communications’ subscribers who want to continue to watch the extremely popular programming that airs on these stations. The station wishes to remind these subscribers that numerous other means exist for receiving our stations, including, DirectTV, Dish Network and free over-the air.

Each station directed viewers to contact Frontier as part of an effort to get them to keep the stations from being blacked out.

A Q&A section answers questions regarding what “retransmission consent” is, and explains why Sinclair did not opt for must-carry status as follows:

These stations chose not to elect must-carry in order to have the right to negotiate with the cable and satellite system to receive certain things, such as compensation and channel position, which it would not receive by making a must-carry election. As a result of the stations’ retransmission consent election, the relationship between the stations and Frontier Communications is essentially the same as the typical commercial relationship that exists between any wholesaler attempting to sell its product to a retailer so that the retailer can then sell the product to consumers in its market.

Posing the questions, “Is just a dispute about money?”, Sinclair responds:

Although the Station does not believe it is productive to negotiate its private business relationships in the public, the inability to reach agreement with Frontier Communications is about more than just money.



  1. It sounds like the usual posturing over retransmission fees, as happens whenever a TV station and a cable/satellite company’s contract nears the end of its term. It’s typical and rarely (but occasionally happens) will the station drop off of the system.

    To Lenora I suggest changing cable companies anyway. If the service where you are is as horrible as it is in my area of Houston, you’re probably overdue.

  2. I just want to know when is Frontier going to add KWVT. Come on guys! I’m missing football games because of it!

    • Wow — Willamette Valley Television. You’d think they are in the HD must-carry area but nope. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. I say ‘Good for you Frontier’. These disputes are nothing more then one company bullying another. If Sinclair is truly trying to get excessive fees out of Frontier, then I say ‘hold your ground’. I will use other means to get the station and it’s networks. Sinclair has clearly been a big bully to nearly everyone, Dish and Comcast sure know how it is. The FCC even slapped Sinclair with nice little fine for not playing fair. As to KWVT, I sure would like to see them on Frontier too, but being a low power station, they can’t invoke must carry. Even Class A stations can’t.

  4. If We cannot keep KOMO I will change carriers immediately… Frontier Communications Where is the communication? POOR Customer Service ..Recently switched software on us wiyhout NO notificatiom

  5. Iris, I don’t know what your experience was with Frontier but I prefer them (even though they have fewer features) then changing to Comcast. Here in Beaverton, Comcast’s channel lineup sucks, and satellite isn’t much better the what Frontier offers. As to the software upgrade, they did warn us and the new software is a VAST IMPROVEMENT over the old version and was WAY overdue. I think we are still much better off even if we do have set up an antenna to get Sinclair’s stations.

  6. As long as Frontier lowers my rate once they delete KOMO I am okay with giving up KOMO.

    Note to KOMO and KATU advertisers, you are about to lose a lot of eyeballs on your advertisements. You might want to ask for lower ad rates or consider a different place to run your ads.

  7. If frontier cannot settle this problem then it’s time once again to find the company that can. There are other choices,
    (A lot) frontier.

  8. It is extremely frustrating to be the pawn in a grab for money. I find it ludicrous that Sinclair’s info post suggests that Frontier could choose just to reduce the profits they make. Really?! And apparently this is not an option for Sinclair?! So if Frontier is being unreasonable how are they able to continue to carry other local stations? Hmmmm And I totally agree that it would be appropriate for advertisers to demand that Sinclair reduce their rate if they no longer can guarantee the viewership they had when those contracts were negotiated. Sinclair does state their primary source of revenues comes from advertising sales. Sinclair would like to see this as merely a case of a buyer and seller being unable to agree on price. Right (heavy sarcasm). This is NOT merely between buyer and seller. I am the product being negotiated for.
    I don’t see how this is going to count as a win for Sinclair, no matter how it is resolved. Customers do have “options”, but it’s not simply just changing carriers as, for many customers, Frontier does not only provide TV services. And if you’ve ever tried OTA you’re aware of the issues with that. If I “have” to change carriers to receive these channels I will resent Sinclair for forcing this unneeded hassle on me. If somehow they do manage to reach an agreement with Frontier, presumably it will be for less than Sinclair was holding out for. The QA made it sound like Frontier does not want to pay a retransmission fee. I sincerely doubt this is the case. I’m assuming Sinclair means Frontier does not want to pay the amount Sinclair is asking. Of course I don’t know the whole story as Sinclair does not believe it is productive to negotiate its private business relationships in the public (even though it is the public for which they are negotiating). So I can only base my opinions on the information provided. Misleading at best. So does Sinclair gain from this disagreement over “fair”?
    I had no opinion about Sinclair before this but their QA makes them appear to be the bully. Yes, this DOES punish the consumer!!

  9. It’s mind-boggling to me that anyone in 2017 is still paying any telecom/cable company. If you want to keep your losing frontier, you can. Simply pony up $20 ONE-TIME for a digital antenna and watch KOMO/KATU live free over the air in perfect HD clarity. Or pay $7.99mo for a HULU subscription for the ability to stream all your ABC television on demand next day (this is what I do). I have a digital Antena so I can watch live local news and sports, but otherwise HULU more than satisfies me. I cut the cord almost 2 months ago and don’t even notice. Paying $60mo for premium ultimate fast high speed internet vs. $150+ for some bullsh** “cable/home phone/internet *bundle*” anyday. Streaming isn’t just the future of TV, it’s the right now. And if you really have to watch a lot of “live” TV, you can’t beat DIRECTV NOW, all streaming (no contracts, no equipment necessary) for $35mo for 100+ live HD channels. Best of all you can add HBO for only $5 a month, which is $10 cheaper than HBO cost alone, or tacked onto your Comcast/Xfinity or Frontier/Century link subscription.

  10. I think it is time for both companies to sit down with an arbitrator and work out a deal. The only ones being hurt in this process is the viewer/customer. I love watching the old westerns on GRIT and the old movies on REELS. There is also Steve Pool and his weather. Work on it and give something to the viewers/customers of both these businesses.

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