GCI, KTUU Broadcast Agreement Expires
After months of negotiations, KTUU-TV and GCI were unable to reach an agreement by their midnight deadline on Friday to keep KTUU’s programming available on cable in the more rural-areas of the state.
KTUU spokesperson Brad Hillwig says the two parties came close on financial terms, but it was primarily non-monetary terms that kept an agreement from being reached.
“They dealt with issue such as exclusivity of NBC in non-Anchorage, or rural, areas. GCI sought assurances that KTUU would not challenge any attempts on their part to put another NBC signal in rural Alaska,” Hillwig said.
Hillwig says another sticking point included a potential tiering system in the future that might allow cable companies to make subscribers buy access to local channels.
GCI Vice President David Morris says another road block involved KTUU’s desire for additional channel capacity. But, he says negotiations between the two parties are not over forever.
“This is just one part of a very complex contractual arrangement between Schurz Communication and GCI,” Morris said. “Negotiations will continue and we remain open that if Channel 2 comes back with a serious offer, we can come to some type of agreement about rural Alaska.”
Alaska Rural Communications Services – or ARCS – will still carry some KTUU programming, including news and late-night programs like Saturday Night Live.
In place of KTUU on GCI, most affected viewers will now see the Starz Kids and Family network. Those in Kuparuk and the North Slope will see WGN, a CW affiliate based in Chicago.