It’s not certain how the two sides moved, but officials with Cox Communications and the KFSM TV-5 confirmed late Tuesday (April 30) that a deal was reached that would keep KFSM on the Cox cable system in the Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas areas.
Kelly Zega, a spokeswoman with Cox, contacted The City Wire late Tuesday with the message that the standoff had ended.
“We are very pleased that a deal has been reached with Local TV,” Zega noted.
Without the deal, thousands of Cox cable subscribers in the Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas areas would see KFSM could go dark at midnight on April 30.
Cox officials had balked at a 300% increase demanded by Local TV, the parent company of KFSM, to continue carrying the KFSM signal.
Federal law does not allow a cable company to carry programming without the consent of the company generating the content. In the case of KFSM, the content is owned by Newport, Ky.-based Local TV LLC, which owns or operates 21 broadcast stations in the U.S.
Without a deal, Cox will not be allowed to carry the signal of KFSM, KFOR (Oklahoma City), WDAF (Kansas City) and several other stations in the Cox service area.
According to reports from KFSM staffers, Local TV had asked that the per subscriber fee increase from 30 cents to 90 cents.
“Local TV is holding its signals hostage by refusing to grant Cox permission to offer it unless we agree to pay 300% more than what we currently pay today,” noted an April 29 statement from Kim Rowell, vice president and market leader for Cox Arkansas.
Van Comer, president and general manager for KFSM TV-5 and KXNW TV-34, had said that Cox was “misleading” its customers about the impact of the Local TV increase request.
However, Comer also confirmed late Tuesday that a deal had been reached.
“I just received word a tentative deal has been struck with COX. No details, but COX customers will still be receiving KFSM,” Comer noted in an e-mail to The City Wire.