(WKTV) - WBRE, the NBC affiliate out of Scranton, Pennsylvania is still airing in the Utica television market on Saturday, and officials from WBRE's management are now saying Time Warner Cable is not allowed to import their station.
In fact, CEO of Nexstar Broadcasting Perry Sook, has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Time Warner Cable, according to a national industry website. In an official comment on the website's article, Sook goes on to say that the City of Utica should formally revoke Time Warner Cable's carriage rights in the area.
He said, "It may be time to pull out the big guns and have the corporate attorney shake up Time Warner Cable. Next, it is time to have Time Warner Cable knocked down a peg or two. This company has obviously become too big to be of any good public service to anyone. Next, the mayor of Utica, NY should revoke Time Warner Cable's franchise rights in that market and bring in another cable operator."
TVNewsCheck.com has a comment system that verifies users under a registered account. Non-official comments are declared "nicknames." Sook's comment was verified as official.
Time Warner Cable imported WBRE in the Utica market in an attempt to smooth over customer frustration over the loss of NBC programming. WKTV is no longer offered to Time Warner Customers because an agreement was not reached in what fair market value was for the local station.
WKTV is owned by Smith Media, which has been in negotiations with Time Warner Cable regarding their Utica and Burlington, Vermont properties.
Mike Granados, CEO of Smith Media, told TVNewsCheck that they have negotiated with Time Warner “in good faith” and that it has long-standing reputation of doing retransmission negotiations without ever being pulled off the air.
He adds, “At the end of the day, Time Warner just continues not to recognize the millions of dollars we’ve invested in the news product for the last 50 years. And it’s somewhat appalling and insulting to the people of Utica and the surrounding area to bring in a Pennsylvania newscast and let them watch news from a market 200 miles away.”
Mayor David Roefaro responded to CEO Perry Sook's request to revoke Time Warner Cable's carriage rights in Utica. He said, "In light of this development, I will contact Nexstar Broadcasting on Monday and speak with my Corporate Counsel Attorneys. As far as revoking franchise rights, that would involve both the legislative and executive branches of city government, that means it would involve both City Council and my office."
Time Warner Cable has not responded to our calls.