Smith Media V.P. Vic Vetters speaks out about negotiations with Time Warner

By ANDREW DONOVAN

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Smith Media and Time Warner Cable failed to establish a deal regarding what is fair value for WKTV's signals by Wednesday's midnight deadline. That has caused Time Warner to no longer offer WKTV to its customers in most of Central New York.

Instead of WKTV's typical programming and local newscasts, some Time Warner Cable viewers awoke to the local news from WBRE, the NBC affiliate in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Smith Media Vice President and Group Manager, Vic Vetters, is also the longtime general manager of WKTV and was in Utica to deal with the cable outage.

In regards to WBRE airing in Central New York, Vetters said, "A bit of what's going on is unprecedented and some of that may begin to make nationwide industry news, but it's a distraction to what we really want. Seeing a television station from Wiles-Barre/Scranton... it is irrelevant."

What Vetters and the rest of the Smith Media management want is fair value of the product they and the staff produce at WKTV in order to serve the people of Central New York.

The high-level management of Smith Media and negotiators at Time Warner Cable are still in discussions as to how to resolve the conflict. WKTV management is confident that it will be resolved.

Vetters went on to say that "this is the television station that has been there and is there. When something good happens, we're there, when a local charity needs some help and support, we're there. That's our job as a local television station."

The Utica market includes eastern Oneida County and all of Herkimer and Otsego Counties. However, parts of Herkimer County were still receiving WKTV via cable as of Thursday evening on a sporadic basis.

Vetters finished off saying that keeping WKTV on cable is "really for the sake of the identity of this community. At some point you have to recognize (WKTV not being on cable) is not good for the community."

Calls to Time Warner Cable were not returned to NEWSChannel 2.

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