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Local News

KEYT, Cox Reportedly Reach Deal to Avert Cancellation

Media companies agree to extend service contract, with hours to spare before expiration

KEYT and Cox Communications have agreed to a short-term contract extension so there will be no service interruption when the existing agreement expires at midnight Sunday.

“We have an agreement in principle subject to final language in a long-form agreement,” Michael Granados, general manager of KEYT and CEO of the station’s parent company, Smith Media, said in an email to Noozhawk on Sunday night.

Granados has been in negotiations with Cox for about five weeks to reach a new agreement. Lacking a deal, or at least an extension, the local ABC affiliate would have gone off the air starting at midnight Sunday, he said.

A Cox representative could not be reached for comment Sunday night.

In an email sent to some Cox customers Saturday, the company blamed Smith Media for the impasse, claiming KEYT’s parent company “is demanding unreasonable fees.”

“Dear Valued Cox Customer,” the email began. “You may have heard recent reports by ABC-affiliate KEYT that KEYT and My Network TV may no longer be available on Cox’s lineup if their parent company, Smith Media, does not reach an agreement with us.

“We would like you to know that Cox is working hard and in good faith to negotiate a deal with Smith Media to keep its programming on Cox’s channel lineup for our customers. Unfortunately, Smith Media is demanding unreasonable fees that are far above market rate and that would cause our customers’ bills to rise — fees for a television channel that is otherwise available for free, over the air. Without an agreement, Smith Media is refusing to grant Cox permission to carry its signals past 11:59 p.m. PST on Sunday, August 19, 2012.”

The Cox email said the company will continue to negotiate with Smith Media “to secure a reasonable agreement that avoids unduly burdening our customers.”

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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