Deal Cut Between Regional Sports Net, B’cast Station

KBL Sports Network, a regional cable web serving Pittsburgh, and CBS affiliate KDKA-TV Pittsburgh have entered into an agreement where KBL will produce a daily show out of the broadcast station’s studios.

“SportsBeat,” the first non-event program produced by KBL, creates an unusual alliance between broadcast and cable competitors.

Under the agreement, KBL will use KDKA’s studios to produce “SportsBeat,” a weekday half-hour to hourlong program dealing with major sports issues. In return, KBL will plug KDKA’s latenight news during three sports updates airing on the cable service.

According to Bill Craig, general manager of KBL, the deal was the result of successful testing KBL did last year with another Pittsburgh station, Hearst-owned WPXI-TV. When the deal was being developed, WPXI had a full plate. KBL turned to KDKA.

“SportsBeat” will air live at 7 p.m. Craig said producing the show at the station will make use of technicians and studio facilities unused between the station’s early and latenight news.

Craig also said that KDKA execs realized the sports net was getting high primetime ratings, and that promotions for KDKA’s late-news telecast on KBL would help the station’s ratings.

In addition to the facility-news exchange, KDKA is buying a “six-figure” package of advertising time on the regional service to be aired during the 14-month life of the agreement.

And while both KDKA and KBL telecast games of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pirates, another aspect of the agreement calls for each participant to promote the other’s sports programming.

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