Cox Media Group TV stations in six markets have gone dark to Suddenlink subscribers in a dispute over retransmission consent fees.
The blackout affects viewers in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Memphis, Tennessee; Spokane, Washington; Eureka, California; Greenville-Greenwood, Mississippi; and Alexandria, Louisiana.
Both sides blamed the other.
“Our country continues to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and, during these uncertain times, it is more important than ever that our viewers know their trusted local stations are there for them, providing the news and information they need to make decisions for their families. CMG stations take pride in being trusted and vital resources for our communities, and we will fight to continue to fulfill this responsibility,” said Paul Curran, executive VP of television at CMG, controlled by Apollo Global Management.
Suddenlink said that CMG was asking for a higher retransmission fee than other broadcasters it works with. It also noted that Cox Media Group owns the stations carrying all of the broadcast networks in Greenwood, Mississippi, and that the dispute left Suddenlink customers there without access to any broadcast programming.
“Despite being in the midst of a pandemic when access to affordable news is incredibly critical, Cox Media Group has pulled its channels from Suddenlink TV lineups in certain markets in an effort to extract an exorbitant increase in fees from us and our customers," Suddenlink, part of Altice U.S., said in a statement. “With so many households across the nation struggling, we call on Cox Media Group to stop holding our customers hostage, return the channels to our lineups, and focus on working with us to negotiate a new deal that is fair to our customers.”
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