LIN Television Corp. is pledging to donate a “major portion” of the cash it receives via retransmission consent negotiations with cable operators to community service projects and educational programs for children.
LIN, based in Providence, R.I., owns network affiliates in seven markets throughout the U.S. Its largest stations are NBC affils KXAS-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth, and KXAN-TV, Austin, Texas, and CBS affil WISH-TV, Indianapolis.
In a statement issued Wednesday, LIN prez Gary Chapman said his company has “a history of sharing with our communities, and these retransmission fees will enable us to increaseour contribution and to expand our investment in children’s programming.”
LIN’s pledge could be read as a shrewd public relations move by a broadcaster that is firmly committed to forcing cable systems to pay retransmission fees for its station signals. By promising to return some of the retrans coin to communities, LIN appears to be positioning cable operators as the “bad guy” if the cabler refuses to pay the fees.
LIN Television director of promotions Lee Spieckerman said the company will be asking for “reasonable” fees from cable operators. “The idea is not to be outrageous or to be seen as gouging,” consumers, he said.
Passage of the 1992 cable reregulation act gave broadcasters the option of continued carriage by cable systems, or of seeking compensation for the TV station signal through negotiations. The Big Three networks and most large market stations have opted for retrans negotiations, which must be completed by Oct. 6.
Broadcasters who opted for retrans are facing what appears to be united opposition from the largest cable MSOs to the notion of paying for TV signals that have long been received free of charge.