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No talks scheduled between Click Network and KOMO; Channel 4 remains dark

Post by C.R. Roberts / The News Tribune on Jan. 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
January 7, 2013 12:31 pm

The stalemate between Tacoma’s Click Network and Fisher Communications continues.

With the expiration of its retransmission contract, Click stopped providing six stations offered by Fisher – including KOMO TV – on New Year’s Day.

Representatives had been renegotiating a one-year contract for several months. Chief among the issues discussed was the fee Click would pay to Fisher. Exact financial details of the former contract, and any amounts being negotiated, have not been released.

On Monday, Fisher Senior Vice President Randa Minkarah said, “It’s difficult to say” when negotiations would recommence.

“We’ve been giving them a lot of offers, back and forth,” she said of conversations with Click. “I guess you could call it an impasse.”

She did air some optimism, however. “There’s always an opportunity to talk,” she said. This is not what we want. We’d be happy to talk.”

Minkarah disagreed with a characterization made by a Click representative that the requested retransmission fee was exorbitant. “We don’t agree with that,” she said.

Neither did she agree with some figures stated by Click negotiator Diane Lachel. “I’m not sure where we arrived at that,” she said.

She said she was somewhat surprised that negotiations had so far failed. “Very, very, very rarely does it come to this point,” she said. “It’s very important to KOMO to be back on the system. We’re sorry to inconvenience our viewers.”

Where Lachel has said the network was considering some variety of refund or other emollient to subscribers, Minkarah she was not aware of any possible rebate to advertisers who have lost part of their Pierce County exposure.

“That’s not something that has come to our attention,” she said.

Lachel said Monday that Click was formulating a strategy to ask for subscriber support in the ongoing negotiations.

“We’ve got a lot of potential tactics,” she said.

There seemed on Monday to be one area of agreement between the two parties.

Waiting to board a plane for a business trip, Minkarah said, “We are very open to negotiation.” After stating that Click’s best and final offer has been submitted, Lachel said, “We are ready to negotiate. We have yet to hear back.”

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