Absent a late-night deal, effective Jan. 1, Sunflower Broadband cable subscribers are no longer receiving Kansas City’s Hearst-Argyle Television Inc. stations KMBC-ABC and KCWE-CW.
During ongoing negotiations, representatives of Hearst-Argyle told Sunflower Broadband on Wednesday they would not authorize the cable operation to retransmit the KMBC and KCWE signals to subscribers after midnight Jan 1., said Patrick Knorr, chief operating officer for Sunflower Broadband and The World Company, which owns the Journal-World.
“We’ve enjoyed a good relationship with KMBC,” Knorr said. “We are disappointed KMBC is choosing to deprive our customers of continuing to receive KMBC as well as depriving their advertisers of reaching those customers. Sunflower will continue to work around the clock with Hearst-Argyle to restore KMBC and KCWE under terms that are fair to our customers.”
He also said he was disappointed KMBC did not give Sunflower Broadband more time to notify customers of the change. Negotiations were still ongoing as late as Wednesday night.
The Journal-World’s attempts to reach Hearst-Argyle and KMBC officials for comment on Wednesday night were unsuccessful.
KMBC was broadcast on channel 9, and 200 in high-definition television, on Sunflower Broadband’s lineup, and KCWE was channel 17 and 206 in HDTV.
Sunflower Broadband management said the company would simulcast the ABC Topeka affiliate KTKA, also owned by The World Company, on channels 9 and 200, so customers can still see ABC programming on those channels.
The cable operator serves Lawrence and surrounding communities.
Sunflower Broadband has reached agreements with all other Kansas City and Topeka stations that allow the cable company to carry their signals into 2009, Knorr said.
Subscribers can also get more information about the change on the company’s Web site, sunflowerbroadband.com.