UTICA -- The corporate battle that resulted in NBC affiliate WKTV's removal from certain Time Warner Cable lineups -- including systems serving Utica and its immediate suburbs -- has ended. As of Saturday night, the two sides say they've reached a new agreement which should have WKTV back on the lineups by Sunday morning.
Ironically, news of the deal first appeared on the website of the Utica Observer-Dispatch at 8:35pm -- nearly 15 minutes sooner than WKTV had the news posted on its own website at 8:48pm.
As expected in cases like these, neither side has commented on the terms of the deal, so we'll never know if WKTV owner Smith Media buckled, allowing Time Warner to carry its stations for free -- or if Time Warner gave in to Smith Media's demands for a retransmission fee.
When the old deal between the two sides expired on December 15th, WKTV pulled its signals from several Time Warner systems. Time Warner countered by importing NBC affiliate WBRE from Scranton, Pennsylvania. The two companies were also at odds over stations in the Burlington/Plattsburgh market, where Smith-owned ABC affiliate WVNY was replaced by Utica's WUTR. Both of the "replacement" stations are owned by Nexstar Media, who argued that Time Warner was importing those stations without its consent.
WKTV GM Vic Vetters told the Utica O-D that Smith and Time Warner reached an agreement at about 7:30pm Saturday, and that the two stations would be back on all local Time Warner systems within 24 hours. WKTV's homepage said the stations would be restored by 8:00am Sunday.
Certain Time Warner systems -- including those covering Rome and western Oneida County, and some in Herkimer County -- were not impacted during the dispute. Those systems are covered under a different retransmission deal, which runs through the end of this year.
Our thanks to CNYRadio.com/CNYTVNews.com reader Jeff Moulton and another anonymous reader who sent email alerting us to this news. Anytime you've got local broadcasting-related news to share, let us know!