The National Association of Media Brokers (NAMB) announced that it will honor Nexstar Broadcasting Group CEO Perry Sook with its “Distinguished Achievement Award” at its next meeting in conjunction with the NAB Radio Show September 24th in Philadelphia. No doubt several of the brokers have gotten commission checks from Nexstar deals over the years, but they have a special reason for honoring Sook.
“While an overall exemplary broadcast executive, Mr. Sook is specifically being honored for his courage in obtaining ‘Retransmission Fees’ from cable companies retransmitting Nexstar’s signals – a dramatic first and important achievement for the television industry,” NAMB said in announcing the honor for Sook.
Nexstar deliberately put itself at the forefront of a battle with cable MSOs in 2005 by having several of its retransmission consent contracts come up for renewal a year ahead of most other broadcast groups. Sook demanded payment for cable systems to carry his company’s network affiliate stations and stood his ground, even when Nexstar stations were temporarily pulled off of some systems and the cable guys waged a PR fight in local media and in Washington, DC. Nexstar succeeded in making cable pay for retrans and other broadcasters had ammunition to use when their own contracts came up.
The result has been a new revenue stream for local television station owners at what turned out to be a time when every penny of new revenue was important to battle an advertising downturn. Retrans has also propped up station values in a down market.
Sook earlier this year told Wall Street to expect $75 million in revenues from Nexstar’s latest round of retrans contracts.