WNWO-TV the NBC affiliate for Toledo, Ohio area, ordered Buckeye Cable System (Block Communications Inc.) 12/15 to remove its signal at midnight after the existing retransmission consent contract between the two expired.
“We regret that WNWO took this action,” Jeff Abbas, Buckeye president and GM told The Toledo Blade. “Fortunately for our customers, WNWO’s signal is available off-air for free, and Buckeye will provide our customers with a free digital antenna if they’d like one. Also, the majority of NBC network programming is available online for free, including Sunday Night Football, and Buckeye has a link on its Web site, www.buckeyecablesystem.com, pointing viewers to that programming.”
Barrington Broadcasting Group sold WNWO and 17 other stations to Sinclair Broadcast Group last month. Abbas said that while Buckeye continues to negotiate with Sinclair for the rights to retransmit Channel 24’s signal, terms have not been agreed upon.
“Buckeye simply cannot agree to pay Sinclair 10 times more for WNWO than what previous owners required. That is unfair to our customers who are being burdened by ever-increasing programming costs, and it is also unfair to the other stations in Toledo who have much higher viewership than WNWO,” Abbas told the paper.
Earlier this year, Buckeye was involved in a retransmission fight with the local Fox affiliate WUPW, ch. 36, when the station’s owners, American Spirit Media, and Raycom Media, owner of WTOL (CBS), ch. 11, sought to increase WUPW’s retransmission rates.
Said the Toledo Blade story: “American Spirit Media and Raycom wanted to charge Buckeye more to rebroadcast WUPW, a Fox station, after it started sharing facilities, staff, and news broadcasts with WTOL, a CBS affiliate.
The dispute started Dec. 12, 2012, when Buckeye dropped Channel 36 and was not resolved until Jan. 20 when a deal was reached and the station returned to the cable lineup.”