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Charter, Sinclair Ink Retrans Pact

Charter Communications and Sinclair Broadcast Group reached a three-year retransmission-consent agreement that covers 28 TV stations reaching 1.9 million subscribers.

The deal, which includes HDTV programming, expires March 31, 2010. It encompasses Sinclair owned-or-operated stations in 19 markets.

Charter spokeswoman Anita Lamont declined to comment on whether Charter is paying cash to Sinclair, saying details of the agreement are confidential. Officials at Sinclair couldn’t be reached for comment.

Sinclair has been one of the most vocal broadcasters in terms of its demand for cash from cable operators in exchange for carriage of its stations. This year, the company closed retransmission-consent renewals with Time Warner Cable, Mediacom Communications and Comcast.

Mediacom has conceded that it had to pay cash-license fees to Sinclair after a bitter dispute where the broadcaster pulled its stations from the cable operator.

Sinclair officials issued a prepared statement about their retransmission-consent deal with Charter.

"Sinclair is pleased to have once again taken a leadership role in working with multichannel-video distributors such as Charter to ensure that cable subscribers in our markets continue to receive some of the most popular programs on television," Sinclair president David Smith said in a prepared statement. "Our mutually acceptable economic agreement with Charter demonstrates the value of broadcast television on alternative delivery systems."

The cable operator had its own statement, as well.

“Charter's priority is to provide our customers value and choice through a broad array of programming, packages and enhanced services," said Cathy Fogler, vice president of video programming and product management. "We're pleased to have reached an agreement with Sinclair that provides us the right to continue to deliver programming offered by Sinclair's owned or operated stations and gives us the opportunity to expand high-definition programming to our customers."

The stations included in the agreement are: WLOS/WMYA in Asheville, N.C./Anderson, S.C.; WABM/WTTO in Birmingham, Ala.; WDKA/KBSI in Cape Girardeau, Mo./Paducah, Ky.; KGAN in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; WSYX/WTTE in Columbus, Ohio; WKEF in Dayton, Ohio; WSMH in Flint, Mich.; WXLV in Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem, N.C.; WMSN in Madison, Wis.; WCGV/WVTV in Milwaukee; WUCW in Minneapolis; WZTV/WUXP/WNAB in Nashville, Tenn.; WTVZ in Norfolk, Va.; WLFL/WRDC in Raleigh, N.C.; WRLH in Richmond, Va.; WGGB in Springfield, Mass.; WICS/WICD in Springfield/Champaign, Ill.; KDNL in St. Louis; and WTWC in Tallahassee, Fla.