New retrans fight brewing in Nebraska


Citadel Communications appears to be at a standoff with DirecTV over retransmission consent terms for KLKN-TV (ABC) Lincoln, NE. Unless there’s a breakthrough, the station could be pulled from DirecTV’s local-to-local service at the end of this month.

“DirecTV’s contract with the Citadel-owned ABC station in Lincoln, Neb., is expiring on March 31. We have been negotiating in good faith to try and reach a resolution and will continue to do so. If an agreement is not reached by the deadline, we intend to continue to provide the station as we have for many years, unless Citadel demands that we take it away from our customers. If the station comes down after the deadline, customers can tune to an alternative ABC station – KHGI, channel 13 – but make no mistake, it will be solely and completely the station owner’s (Citadel’s) decision to take the station away from our customers,” DirecTV said in a press release issued on Wednesday.

Of course, the management of KLKN has a very different view of what’s happening.

“It is our sincere belief that the approach we’ve taken to these business discussions with DirecTV has been quite reasonable.  We have sought to retain terms and carriage conditions commonly found in similar agreements successfully negotiated and currently in place with dozens of other cable and satellite providers.  We are also asking DirecTV to compensate us fairly for the right to ‘re-sell’ our programming.  Importantly, our request is a fraction of what DirecTV is paying other program providers who have no local ties to our community, and whose ratings are a fraction of Channel 8 KLKN-TV’s,” stated a notice posted on the KLKN website.

The announcement invited viewers to contact Sr. VP/GM Roger Moody and Director of Broadcast Operations Jeff Swanson for more information on the retrans dispute.

“Regrettably, our negotiations with DirecTV have reached a point where it appears unlikely that a new agreement will be reached,” the announcement warned, so KLKN is preparing to disappear from the satellite TV service as of April 1st.

“DirecTV customers should know that Channel 8 KLKN-TV will still be available free over-the-air, by cable or by the Dish Network. You may wish to send a message to DirecTV: ‘Lose my shows, lose my business!’” the announcement advised viewers.