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.