After one month off the lineup, Fox affiliate WVBT-TV is
back on Cox Cable in Hampton Roads, Va. and is again reaching 410,000 cable homes,
according to officials.
But WVBT, which is managed by LIN Television's
WAVY-TV, has apparently not succeeded, at least to this point, in its bid to obtain a
lower channel position. It returned to cable Friday evening, Feb. 4, on its old slot at
WVBT has been in a retransmission-consent battle with Cox
that resulted in the TV station pulling its signal Jan. 1. The Fox affiliate asked Cox for
a lower dial position in exchange for retransmission consent, a request the cable operator
had refused. The broadcaster had even offered to pay $500,000 in order to get a lower
channel slot, in the 2-to-14 range.
Both sides recently agreed to mediation, and after a
day-long session last Friday they reached a multi-year retransmission-consent agreement
that put WVBT back on channel 43. Now WVBT, whose ratings dropped significantly while it
was off cable, was back on Cox for the bulk of the February sweep, one of the time periods
whose ratings are used to determine ad rates.
Officials declined to comment in detail about the
settlement and would not say if WVBT will get a different channel slot in the future. They
said a confidentiality clause was part of their deal.
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