Having already moved its network affiliation in Evansville, IN after failing to come to renewal terms with Nexstar, Fox has now announced affiliation deals with new stations in two more markets to displace Nexstar stations.
In Ft. Wayne, IN (DMA #107) Fox is moving to Granite Broadcasting’s WISE-TV, which will carry both Fox and its existing Fox sister MyNetworkTV on DTV channels. The change is effective August 1st, leaving Nexstar’s WFFT-TV without a network affiliation.
Granite says the station will be promoted as “My Fox Ft. Wayne” and air a local newscast five nights per week.
“We are proud to partner with Granite Broadcasting for the first time as Granite’s WISE-TV/DT joins FOX’s family of more than two hundred affiliates. Granite has a proven track record for providing local viewers with outstanding programming and community service, and its strong local news presence in Ft. Wayne will help strengthen Fox’s footprint in the market,” said Jon Hookstratten, Executive Vice President, Network Distribution. Fox Broadcasting Company.
“We’re pleased to bring Fox’s excellent lineup of sports and entertainment programming to WISE-TV as a complement to our existing stable of local news and information programming,” said Peter Markham, Chairman of Granite Broadcasting Corporation.
In Springfield, MO (DMA #74) Koplar Communications announced that it has signed to have KRBK-TV become the new Fox affiliate in the market, displacing Nexstar’s KSFX-TV. KRBK has also been a MyNetworkTV affiliate. It plans to air Fox primetime programming 7-9 pm, followed by MyNet 9-11 pm. “KRBK will thus become the first station in the Springfield market region to offer viewers a four-hour prime time, 7pm-11pm,” the station announcement declared.
Koplar plans to brand the Springfield station as “Fox49 KRBK.”
Nexstar CEO Perry Sook did respond to RBR-TVBR this time, but only to say “No comment at this time.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Is it disloyal of Fox to abandon affiliates who helped build its fledgling network to #1 in the key 18-49 demo? Sure, but then it was disloyal of many stations to dump ABC, CBS or NBC in favor of Fox back when it won NFL rights in 1993. This is business, after all.
Overwhelmingly, respondents to an RBR-TVBR poll said Fox was demanding too much in seeking 75% of retransmission consent fees from affiliates, but it is apparently finding others willing to pay the freight in markets where it has been unable to get existing affiliates to meet its terms. How many other stations besides the four thus far (3 Nexstar and 1 Block) will see Fox leave them for a competitor?