In an announcement made at exactly 7:18pm Eastern on Wednesday, a potentially ugly battle between Cox Communications and Hearst Television over retransmission fees that led to the 12:01am Eastern removal of the broadcast company’s stations from the MVPDs lineups has ended.
This restores not only NBC affiliate WDSU-6 in New Orleans just days before Hurricane Irma’s expected arrival in South Florida, but also The CW-affiliated WKCF-18 and NBC affiliate WESH-2 in the Orlando-Daytona Beach DMA.
Confirmation of the across-the-board restoration by Cox of the Hearst stations appeared across station websites.
One big Hearst affiliate, ABC KETV-7 in Omaha, saw GM Ariel Roblin thank its viewers.
“We appreciate that both parties recognized the heightened sense of urgency to resolve these negotiations both fairly and quickly so that our respective viewers and customers could be once again served by our stations,” she said. “We are very pleased to once again have KETV providing Cox customers the quality local and national programming that we invest so highly in for our local communities.”
This statement was also attributed, verbatim, to WESH/WKCF GM John Soapes and WDSU GM Joel Vilmenay.
By law, Cox was forced to yank all Hearst-owned stations off of its systems just after midnight Eastern on Wednesday (9/6), as a new retransmission fee agreement had not been met.
This is a new deal, RBR+TVBR confirmed with a Hearst representative.
“We are thankful for the patience of our viewers,” said Hearst Television President Jordan Wertlieb. “We appreciate that both parties recognized the heightened sense of urgency to resolve these negotiations both fairly and quickly so that our respective viewers and customers could be once again served by our stations.”
Cox Communications SVP/Content Acquisition and Programming Andy Albert added, “We’re pleased to have reached an agreement and appreciate our customers being patient as we worked through the process.”
The other stations impacted by the new Cox-Hearst retrans fee deal are ABC KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City and KHBS-TV & KHOG-TV in the Fort Smith-Fayetteville, Ark., market.