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WISH-TV parent, cable carrier at loggerheads

September 15, 2008

Despite almost three months of attempted negotiations, officials for Lin TV Corp. and Bright House Networks have not been able to agree to extend their current deal to retransmit Lin's three local channels on the cable system.

Lin officials say Bright House has not responded to their proposals.

However, Buz Nesbit, president of Florida-based Bright House Indiana, refuted Lin officials' claims that his company refused to negotiate.

"There have been a lot of conversations between the two sides," Nesbit said. "There have been proposals and responses."

Nesbit remains cautiously optimistic a deal can get done by Oct. 2. "I certainly hope it's resolved," he said. "We're working to make sure that it does."

Lin is the Rhode Island-based parent company of WISH-TV Channel 8, WNDY-TV Channel 23 and WIIH-TV Channel 17. Bright House Networks, an affiliate of media giant Time Warner, provides cable TV services to more than 120,000 subscribers in central Indiana.

Lin officials said if the issue can't be settled by Oct. 2, when the current deal expires, central Indiana Bright House customers no longer will get Lin's three local channels on their cable dial. This will deprive viewers of local news, traffic and weather, said Jeff White, president and general manger of WISH and WNDY. The stations also carry popular programming, including Indianapolis Colts games and shows such as "CSI," "NCIS," "Without a Trace" and "Survivor."

"Without fair market compensation, we will not be able to provide the premiere news, sports, entertainment and other local programming that is so important to our local viewers," White said. "It is unjust for cable companies to charge their subscribers a fee in their monthly bill for signals it does not pay to receive."

Lin TV has successfully reached agreements with every major cable, satellite and telecommunications company except for Time Warner, White said.

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