No strides in cable negotiations

CBS affiliate seeks an increase of 3 cents a day

KINGMAN - There is no guarantee Kingman Suddenlink Cable customers will be able to watch the NFL on CBS on Sunday.

Less than two days away from the Saturday midnight deadline, the Meredith Corporation, which owns KPHO CBS 5, and Suddenlink Cable continue to negotiate a contract extension for the cable company to continue carrying the signal.

If the deadline is reached and no contract is in place, Suddenlink plans to ask for an extension, but the channel's Vice President/General Manager Ed Munson said Meredith would deny that request.

That means Mohave County Suddenlink customers will not be able to watch CBS Sunday if the two sides don't come to an agreement.

The Miner mistakenly reported that the channel is seeking an increase of 3 cents per cable bill when in reality the channel is seeking an increase of 3 cents per day - about 90 cents per month.

Munson said the channel made its most recent offer at about 4 p.m. Wednesday, and as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday had not received a response.

"Unfortunately, they are now asking for a 65-percent raise in their pay," said Pete Abel, Suddenlink's senior vice president of corporate communications, in a media release. "That's not fair and not justified, especially in this economy. If our customers are not getting a 65-percent raise, neither should Meredith and its stations."

When cable companies pay a national average of $4.50 per month to carry ESPN, and Suddenlink refuses to sign off on a contract that increases rates to carry KPHO CBS 5 by pennies a day, it shows that the company doesn't value the station, Munson said.

Negotiations between the companies have been ongoing since October. In that time, Munson has been able to secure similar deals regarding Meredith stations with seven other providers. Likewise, Abel said Suddenlink has been able to renew contracts with 60 other companies representing 100 stations during the same timeframe.

Neither side is allowed to go into further detail regarding the negotiations or current rates. Once the deadline passes, negotiations will continue, but barring Meredith negotiators changing their mind, they will do so with the channel pulled from Suddenlink's lineup.

"The whole thing is just ridiculous," Munson said. "We are going down an ugly, ugly path."