Consider it a stay of execution, not a pardon.
Last month, cable provider GCI and NBC affiliate KTUU-TV in Anchorage reached an 11th hour deal to keep KTUU on the air for GCI customers. That deal expires Friday, meaning NBC broadcasts could soon end in Kodiak.
The two sides are deadlocked in negotiations over carriage fees, the amount of money KTUU can charge GCI to carry its signal. KTUU does not charge any fee right now, but that arrangement will end at the end of 2014.
Negotiations took another turn last week when the Federal Communications Commission approved the purchase of two NBC affiliates and one CBS affiliate by a GCI subsidiary.
The FCC overruled the objections of Alaska broadcasters who said the purchase was “potentially monopolistic” because GCI now owns both programming and the means to broadcast it. GCI is the sole cable TV provider for most of Alaska.
If GCI and KTUU fail to reach a deal before Friday, GCI has stated that it will stop broadcasting KTUU in Kodiak, Bethel, Valdez, Barrow, Cordova and Nome.
“We are doing everything possible to work in good faith with GCI to achieve a resolution,” wrote KTUU marketing director Brad Hillwig in an email. “No matter what happens, KTUU remains committed to serving ALL Alaskans with the finest independent news in the state.”
While KTUU’s signal will still be available over the air in Kodiak through the Alaska Rural Communications System, it will be replaced by STARZ Kids & Family on GCI. In addition, ARCS does not carry popular NBC programming that includes Sunday Night Football (though NBC streams football for free on its website).
Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at email@example.com.