Nexstar-Cox Dispute Leads to Blackout in 9 Markets


Nexstar Broadcasting GroupAfter much back and forth at the 11th hour, Nexstar stations in nine markets went dark on Cox Cable systems over the weekend in a retransmission dispute.

Their five-year carriage deal expired while negotiations reached an impasse.

Cox said “Nexstar has decided to remove their channels from the Cox line up,” while Nexstar said Cox “dropped the network and local community programming” in these markets: Acadiana and Baton Rouge, La.; Florida’s Gulf Coast, Ft. Smith and Springdale, Ark.; Las Vegas; Phoenix; Pittsburg, Kansas and Roanoke, Va.

Cox and Nexstar say they want to resolve the dispute. But at the same time, they’re telling the public what’s happening their own perspective.

For example, Cox characterized Nexstar as the “latest station owner to rely on retransmission fees in an effort to boost their bottom line,” telling customers the broadcaster “has not changed its offer in two weeks and is still demanding three times more for its over-the-air stations.”

Referencing Nexstar’s new deal to pay $4.6B in cash and stock for Media General, Cox urged the public to voice their opposition to the deal to the FCC, raising the suspicion “that they are using retransmission fees to fund these deals.”

“Nexstar won’t even accept the very same rate that stations they manage agreed to just two weeks ago,” says Cox.” The merger “would force more cable TV/satellite companies and ultimately customers to pay higher fees for retransmission consent.”