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Archive for Thursday, December 29, 2011

Knology to no longer provide 2 Topeka stations

December 29, 2011, 10:07 p.m. Updated December 30, 2011, 12:00 a.m.

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Come Jan. 1, Knology customers might want to reprogram their DVRs if they have any shows set to the Topeka NBC or ABC affiliates.

The local broadband company will no longer retransmit Topeka’s NBC affiliate KSNT or ABC affiliate KTKA.

In negotiations with the two stations, Knology was told its customers would have to pay to see them. Knology already pays for the Kansas City NBC and ABC affiliates.

“We’re not going to have them charging our customers when our customers are already paying for NBC and ABC content,” Knology of Kansas general manager Rod Kutemeier said.

Previously, Knology had not been charged anything to retransmit the stations. Anyone with an antennae and in range can see the stations for free.

Under FCC rules, Kansas City is Knology’s designated market area, so Knology has to carry Kansas City stations first.

“We wouldn’t be allowed to not carry Kansas City and instead carry Topeka,” Kutemeier said.

Knology will still carry Topeka’s CBS- and PBS-affiliated stations, WIBW and KTWU, which aren’t charging customers.

KTKA, which is owned by PBC Broadcasting, has a shared services agreement with KSNT, owned by New Vision Television, and with the low-powered Fox affiliate KTMJ. This summer, KTKA and KSNT combined news stations to form Kansas First News, which will no longer be available to Knology customers.

Along with different news stations, syndicated shows such as “Dr. Phil” and “Jeopardy!” will differ between the Kansas City and Topeka stations. Knology customers will still be able to access Kansas University football and basketball games through Kansas City’s KSMO station, which is part of the Jayhawk Television Network.

Kutemeier advises people to switch DVR recordings to the Kansas City NBC and ABC stations but noted that through the month of January prime-time shows can still be recorded off the Topeka stations.

Knology would still like to reach an agreement with KSNT and KTKA, Kutemeier said.

“We want to continue to have them in our lineup here in Lawrence,” Kutemeier said. “Hopefully that will happen.”

In 2010, the World Company, which publishes the Lawrence Journal-World, sold Sunflower Broadband to Knology, which is headquartered in Georgia. In 2011 Free State Communications, an indirect subsidiary to the World Company, sold KTKA to PBC Broadcasting.

Comments

uglyrumor 2 years, 8 months ago

Boo. No Nightline until 11:30 and now no Jimmy Kimmel. I miss Sunflower. I want at&t and can't get it

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NavyVet 2 years, 8 months ago

You make no sense - the stations are charging the fee. Not Knology. Sunflower would've charged you, too.

I hope you don't vote . . .

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pace 2 years, 8 months ago

Stations change fees all the time. Knology has decided not to pay the fees. I don't know if dropping these stations will hurt them. Their consideration is their bottom line, as I hope it would be for any business. I am a bit tired they keep saying they are doing it for our sake. I think Knology is too expensive and does not offer enough options. I only want about a third of the channels. They should have more options. If they put those channels in one of the options. If we wanted to watch them, we could pay for that package. They should figure out a way for us not to have to leave knology to watch local are news shows, etc.

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ljwhirled 2 years, 8 months ago

+1

In their defense, the content providers are the ones who wanted to be paid.

They already get advertising dollars, but now they are getting greedy and want you (through the cable company) to pay by both watching adds and as a monthly fee per subscriber.

Full Disclosure: I truly hate Knology, but in this case they aren't the bad guys.

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JustNoticed 2 years, 8 months ago

Why do you hate Knology? I mean, aside from their ridiculous name.

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Joe Hyde 2 years, 8 months ago

Knology shouldn't be -- but is -- a tricky name to work out in your head, how you're supposed to pronounce it before you speak it out loud.

Reminds me of the heady days of Phonetics, where it seemed even its proponents failed to realize that the very word Phonetics, if spelled according to that discipline's code, would leave out the "Ph" and instead be spelled: Fonetiks. Or something like that.

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Kawatchi 2 years, 8 months ago

Did you miss the part where the ABC and NBC affiliates used to provide the content for free and were now trying to charge for it? Knology doesn't save any money on this, so why should your bill go down?

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bearded_gnome 2 years, 8 months ago

Along with different news stations, syndicated shows such as “Dr. Phil” and “Jeopardy!” will differ between the Kansas City and Topeka stations. Knology customers will still be able to access Kansas University football and basketball games through Kansas City’s KSMO station, which is part of the Jayhawk Television Network.

---gloom, despair, and agony on me!
[for those who don't know, that's an old old Hee haw ref!]

oh the humanity! how will I survive?!?
not!

not much worth watching on nbc/abc except the Law and Order franchise and Tim Allen.

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Bill Lee 2 years, 8 months ago

Will Knology carry the new NBC Sports Channel?

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average 2 years, 8 months ago

NBC Sports is just a rebrand (with some new content) of the currently NBC-owned Versus. I'd assume the new station will just take over Versus' spot on the bronze lineup.

Antenna here. Fortunately, I'm on top of the hill so I get everything from both directions. There are some valleys in town,though, where even a really good outdoor antenna is still not going to get you much from either.

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Curtis Lange 2 years, 8 months ago

Dropped Knology for U-verse a couple months ago so ultimately I don't care...however, when we did have Knology/Sunflower we NEVER watched the Topeka stations anyway. The only way this could be seen as a loss for Lawrence customers would be if we have a repeat of the infamous Sun Spot game in which the Topeka station stayed with the KU v Mizzou game while KC got switched to another game.

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IrishCat 2 years, 8 months ago

I agree with watching the weather reports in Topeka rather than KC..I also agree that KC does not care or typically report them until after they have already hit the Lawrence area. I'll miss the Topeka channels during the severe weather season.

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bearded_gnome 2 years, 8 months ago

for none2 and 'richards,

you know, there's this new fangled thing, just developed, called RADAR or something!

try it some time.

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labmonkey 2 years, 7 months ago

And Channel 13 doesn't have Katie Horner who will cut into programming if it starts to sprinkle somewhere in BF-Missouri.

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pinecreek 2 years, 8 months ago

It is good to have Topeka stations in the portfolio for watching weather updates in the spring/summer. KC stations are notoriously ignorant of Lawrence needs for updates when severe storms head our way. That was one reason that we dropped Uverse after a year (well besides the fact that they jacked up their rates massively).

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Curtis Lange 2 years, 8 months ago

I could never stand to watch Topeka news. Their newscasts always seemed like a rickety high school production.

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Steve Jacob 2 years, 8 months ago

Those Topeka stations still might cave. If you advertise on those two stations, losing a market of 100K is a very big deal.

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justajoe 2 years, 8 months ago

Exactly. It'll happen when the first big-dollar advertiser catches on and demands a lower rate.

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pace 2 years, 8 months ago

I don't think Knology has a 100,000 clients, but I don't know.

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LogicMan 2 years, 8 months ago

Ditto on the booooo ...

The Topeka stations' local news is often more relevant to us -- they cover the Kansas state government news exclusively, where the KC stations spend most of their time on Missouri (now irrelevant with MU leaving the Big 12).

Knology has also dropped most of the QAM channels, but that hasn't been reported by the LJW.

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MISTERTibbs 2 years, 8 months ago

I hope Knology gets that tiling problem with the KC stations fixed before this drop. I've got four sets in the house, two on digital boxes and two just using their built in digital tuner. The two on boxes have had tiling problems for the past month and reporting it to "customer service" at Knology doesn't seem to make a difference.

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Vivian Sanders 2 years, 8 months ago

MISTERTibbs It sounds like you need a service call if you are seeing your pictures tiling. Please call or email me your information and a good time for us to come fix the problem.

Vivian Sanders Customer Service Supervisor Lawrence, KS 785-312-6937 vivian.sanders@knology.com

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skinny 2 years, 8 months ago

Yup, at least the Kansas City stations have the local news in HD. I still haven't figure out why WIBW and the other two stations in Topeka still are not broadcasting the local news in HD.

I have an antenna on my house and can get 32 HD stations over the air. I have been thinking about canceling Knology and just using the antenna on the house and then getting the Dish networks 29.99 a month package. It's still gives me more channels then Knology does for 62.95. Plus I’ll still get the Topeka station and Kansas City (FREE).

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seagull 2 years, 8 months ago

Boo to Knology. Boo to KSNT too. I understand why Knology would not want to pay for duplicate material. Boo to both for not providing local numbers where one can talk to a REAL customer service person/manager to voice one's opinions about this issue. Let's hope they read the LJWorld because there doesn't seem to be any other way to get in touch with any decision maker at either. I like the Topeka channels for NBC especially.

I agree that service has declined since Knology took over. Rod --that's your bad. So much for the espoused values claimed on the answering machine. The company doesn't even want feedback. No longer is the manager's phone or e-mail address available on the website. What kind of service is that? A company that doesn't really want to talk with its clients. It leaves that to the faceless phone service people who might be in the Dakotas somewhere.

From the other comments posted it seems that Knology ought to pay attention to its local service as well as its offerings or it will continue to lose customers to those guys who patrol Best Buy offering deals for satellite TV.

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Vivian Sanders 2 years, 8 months ago

seagull

Thanks for bringing it to our attention that the number on our website is not the local office number that it should be. We will get that corrected. Until then my contact information is: Vivian Sanders Customer Service Supervisor Lawrence, KS 785-312-6937 vivian.sanders@knology.com

Rod's Contact information is: Rod Kutemeier General Manager Lawrence, KS 785-312-6998 rodger.kutemeier@knology.com

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Mike Edson 2 years, 8 months ago

No big loss. The quality of news programing on KSNT and KTKA has gone down hill over the past few years. I remember when they used to hire professional newscasters and produce a high quality a news program. It now has a local cable access quality with high school news enthusiasts reporting the news. The meteorologist Tom Hagen has been the only asset on the news team in the last five years.

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pace 2 years, 8 months ago

You have a problem taking your mom out to lunch? Was she a bad mom?

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Shelley Bock 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm still miffed with Knology that they wouldn't broadcast Fox Soccer channel. Seems like the Lawrence area wanted it, but Knology as a system in multiple states didn't. Thus, Lawrence suffers at the expense of the greater Knology good.

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Gedanken 2 years, 8 months ago

Did you notice the wording on the e-mail they sent out to customers?

"Knology Customer Alert: Topeka's KSNT (NBC) & KTKA (ABC) Are Not Renewing Their Distribution Agreement With Knology"

Knology is the one that choose to now renew. The subject of the e-mail says something completely different. You think PR people would get the picture after awhile. Take netflix, tells customers they are adding value by raising prices and not adding features. What?! Do you think we can't read and reason for ourselves?

Mr. Kutemeier should issue an apology for misleading Knology's customers with a deceptive wording.

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Rod_Kutemeier 2 years, 8 months ago

Gedanken

I apologize for the confusion. To clarify, Knology is a distributor of video programming. We are not a broadcaster. We have an agreement in place now with KSNT and KTKA that allows us to pull down the KSNT and KTKA signals from an antenna and then distribute the signals to our customers (with guide information for customers using a cable box) through our cable distribution plant.

Currently, our customers do not pay KTKA or KSNT in order for Knology to be allowed to distribute their signals. We would like to renew that same arrangement. Instead, KSNT and KTKA have proposed a new contract which would charge our customers a fee per household per month which we would have to collect and pay to the broadcaster.

We are hoping they reconsider charging our customers and choose to renew their previous agreement authorizing us to continue distributing their signals.

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Rod_Kutemeier 2 years, 8 months ago

cheeseburger

We were in this same situation as Sunflower at the end of 2008 when all of the Topeka stations wanted to charge our customers and we were able to come to agreements continuing carriage without charging. You already pay the KC stations. We just don't want you to have to pay again for mostly the same ABC and NBC content.

On the outages you've experienced, I do apologize sincerely. This is not the standard you are used to. Sunflower and Knology, up until recently, boasted the best up times in the industry.

What changed? It is time to upgrade. The Lawrence market alone has an incredible demand for connectivity and bandwidth. Knology is spending money that Sunflower also would have needed to spend to upgrade for the future including new core routers and switching equipment in the Headend, a new Meta Switch for VoIP and Metro Ethernet.

Everything possible is being done to replace old hardware with new hardware and networks as transparently as is possible. The best laid plans still throw a curve ball now and then. We have backed off at this point and taken a new approach designed to further lessen the impacts going forward.

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Bob_Loblaw 2 years, 8 months ago

Knology is also the only player in this area not offering the HBO GO service to its existing HBO subscribers...U-verse, DISH, Cox, DirecTV etc. all offer it free to subscribers......but it costs the cable company of course...so forget it. Knology customer service told me that many people in the area have called them and asked about it, but they have no plans on offering anytime soon.

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Bob_Loblaw 2 years, 8 months ago

I stand (maybe...we'll see) corrected......someone pointed out the following buried tweet from Knology to a user - @codystopa We are negotiating a new contract with HBO and HBO Go is part of those negotiations. Hope we can make an announcement soon. 25 Dec via TweetCaster for iOS

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average 2 years, 8 months ago

Total guess, but that may be the game plan. Knology, a decidedly minor operator, overpays a bit for Sunflower trying to get big enough for the attention of Cox or TWC in a year or two to overpay for the combined company. Thus increasing the saleability of Knology's existing smaller-town franchises which weren't very attractive otherwise.

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lizzyp13 2 years, 8 months ago

I continue to be frustrated with Knology. (Yes, I understand that this issue may not entirely be their fault) Recently though Knology raised the contract rates on the apartment complex I live in by apprx. $2,000, and the owner said that was a no go. So, we've had about a month and a half to figure out what to do next for our TV situation. With the contract with the apartment we were only paying $16.30 a month which can't be beat. We'd like to get AT&T U-verse since we already have their internet, but unfortunately they don't have the lines laid down yet. So, we're sticking with Knology for a while longer until we figure things out by going with the oh so lovely package they've created for the apartment complex with forces us to go with their internet and TV b/c once we factored in cost this will be the most cost effective. I still want to play with the math and see if we can walk away from Knology because they are just so money hungry.

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Vivian Sanders 2 years, 8 months ago

lizzyp13 Hi, my name is Vivian and I am a Customer Service Supervisor at Knology here in Lawrence. If your apartment complex is already paying for your Apartment Pack level of service then your price for Bronze TV would be $19.95 a month for 219 channels. You would also need a digital box if you don't already have one. These are normally $4 per month but you can get one free for 12 months if you come pick one up today or tomorrow (before the end of December).

If you have any other questions while you are making your decision on who your TV provider will be please let me know if I can help. My contact info is below: Vivian Sanders Customer Service Supervisor Lawrence, KS 785-312-6937 vivian.sanders@knology.com

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lizzyp13 2 years, 8 months ago

No, don't you get it - you guys raised the contract prices so much that our owner had to let you guys go. You're keeping my business for a while longer but we're not happy. I'll pass your info. to my husband I guess...

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Vivian Sanders 2 years, 8 months ago

Please give me a call or have your husband call me or come down to the office at 6th and New Hampshire. We have some great deals right now that expire tomorrow.

Thanks, Vivian

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lizzyp13 2 years, 8 months ago

On side note in relation to the article - I agree that losing the Topeka channels stinks because I, like many others, watch those channels when storms are bad. I'll just make sure to tune into WIBW instead of KTKA.

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Kristen Murphy 2 years, 8 months ago

You know - I don't have Knology anymore because I moved, but I loved having the option for Topeka stations because when all the KC stations were covered with Tornado crap - I could flip over to Topeka and still watch my TV shows. HA! I hate watching their news but having the option to flip back and forth is sure nice. Oh well. Glad I don't have to deal with them anymore.

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labmonkey 2 years, 7 months ago

Exactly... Man I hate Katie Horner.

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SWJayhawk13 2 years, 8 months ago

I have to agree with the above comments in regards to the decline of service ever since they became Knology. Seems like I have problems with my boxes at least every other month, and when I call in to customer service, half the time I get a busy signal, and when I do get through, I am on hold at least 10min before I get through to anyone. After talking to someone, I'm usually left with a bad taste in my mouth. Their prices are ridiculous, considering how crappy the service is. I keep meaning to call AT&T to see if I can get U-Verse. My parents already switched over and it's considerably cheaper and they absolutely love it. Time to dump Knology!

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password 2 years, 8 months ago

We have AT&T U-Verse and there are no Topeka channels available. Also their customer service is the worst I've ever experienced.

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Curtis Lange 2 years, 8 months ago

It still blows my mind that people tell Knology their service blows and they'll look at you like you're an idiot. Had zero complaints with Sunflower but had multiple issues after the Knology purchase...hence the reason we dropped them and haven't looked back.

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patkindle 2 years, 8 months ago

vivian i dropped kronolgy when i moved i never had any major problems with sunflower because i paid my bill promptly every month

when you guys rolled in i had a couple of minor issues and you dropped the ball on both of them

then when i gave you 30 days notice, it was 90 days from the time i dropped by equipt off untill you refunded me i am sorry but that is a poor way to do business, and not acceptable, you should wouldnt have let me dilly dally for 90 days of paying your bill

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okbyme 2 years, 8 months ago

Please tell me one thing you can buy today that you paid the same for last year. Not much. Ice cream containers are no longer 1/2 gallon, and the price is higher. Wendy's burgers are smaller. Airlines are charging for baggage. Garages charge a fee for "shop supplies" now - towels and disposal. Cable companies not carrying certian channels or dropping some channels is a natural evolution and nothing new. Google it. Lots of service providers change line-ups and price points every year. Many have had a difficult time negotiating with broadcast stations. This is old news.

Folks - it's a business. They have to make money to provide this service. Given the various options available in Lawrence, the market is pretty competitive. Knology has to offer services on par with other options for a reasonable price or lose marketshare and money.

There were complaints before it became Knology and that's not going to change. Ever seen The Cable Guy? How many stereotypes did you count? Cable companies have been a target since they started. Ditto gas companies, electric companies, phone companies, on and on.

Look back - how many people complained that with Knology buying Sunflower, a big rate increase was coming? Haven't seen it have you? Gotta give someplace folks. Same thing on the national level - pay more taxes or cut services. Simple economics.

Many people long for the good old days. I wish the attendant still pumped gas for me on cold days at .49 cents a gallon, too.

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Joe Hyde 2 years, 8 months ago

I've said it before and I'll say it again: TV watchers are consumers; as such, we should be at liberty to purchase cable channels and/or satellite TV channels "by the channel". The industry should set a price per channel that customers pay (approved by state and federal commissions) after which prospective customers are free to cherry pick whichever channels they regularly enjoy watching due to programming content. This would free TV watchers from the burden of paying for any channel we don't prefer to watch.

I suspect if this business were allowed to function as a truely free commercial arrangement, TV programming overall would immediately see vaste improvements both in content and quality of programming, compared to the stinking city landfill of crap programming currently being offered by cable and satellite services nationwide.

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seagull 2 years, 8 months ago

Vivian,

Thanks for making your contact information public. Given the beating Knology is taking, that's nice of you. I personally haven't had trouble with wait times but I have had considerable trouble with my boxes and tiling since Knology took over. May be just coincidence. Your tech did get it fixed though.

KSNT weather and sports are better. They cover Lawrence, Kansas and girls and women's sports and provide Kansas news. You'd never know that women played college sports from listening to the KC channels. If you have a feminist bone in your body--or just a sense of fairness to the girls of the community,--you'll keep the KSNT. Try out the channels and you will see for yourself.

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Bill Lee 2 years, 7 months ago

It's January 4, and I've seen no change in the channels offered by Knology. I guess this story was either much ado about nothing or needs an update.

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