Saturday, December 31, 2005

UPDATED: KTHV and WEHCO Strike a Deal

Has KTHV and WEHCO Media struck a deal to keep the Gannett owned station on WEHCO owned cable systems around the state? I have been checking numerous times today hoping to see a deal announced. Within the last hour or two the letter from KTHV GM Larry Audas has been pulled. As a WEHCO Media cable subscriber I can only hope that an agreement has been reached.

UPDATE: 1:40 PM Well it looks as though KTHV and WEHCO have reached a deal per this message at

Headline changed to reflect the updated info.

UPDATE: 01/01/2006 10:00pm Strange....I get home from work and KTHV is blacked out on my cable system. Was there a change of heart?

10:20pm It's back on. Wonder why it was blacked out??

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Tipster: Nexstar Reaches Agreement with Wehco

A tipster tells ATN, Nexstar and Wehco has reached an agreement to keep KARK/Little Rock on the Wehco cable systems across the state. Now we ask how 'bout KTHV? Time is ticking away.

UPDATE: KARK is reporting on its website Nexstar has reached an agreement with WEHCO. It doesn't have any specifics on the deal. I am really curious as this could make my cable bill go up.

KATV'er Goes on Tear in Movie Theater

This from the BullWhiz newsletter;

"The so-called TV personalities now appearing on local TV are

And the ones appearing in person are worse! I had the unpleasant experience of witnessing local TV "movie critic," Rene Shapiro, last week at a screening of "Fun with Dick and Jane." Who is this narcissistic, obnoxious, bellowing woman?! I had never heard of her before that night, however, I was sitting near the lady who was there to "screen" the audience or something, when Rene began berating the lady for not saving seats for her and her late-arriving friends. Some other TV folks, I think. The screening lady kept trying to explain to Rene that no one had told her to save seats for all Rene's friends, which apparently sent the Self-Important-Mega-Critic in to a hissy-fit, because she then began shouting to everyone in the theater that she needed SEATS TOGETHER FOR HER FRIENDS!!! And could we the rest of the audience ­ who had arrived ON TIME ­ scoot our sorry-pathetic-NOT-MOVIE-CRITIC butts over and make room for the grand entrance of the Channel 7 crew! What was even more disgusting was the fact that there were plenty of seats on the front row for her Her Highness Loudmouth. Geez, Spirit of Arkansas, my Aunt Fanny! What is the scoop of this ignorant woman anyway?"

Sunday, December 25, 2005

40/29 Gets New Sports Reporter

A NWA news insider tells ATN," Beau McCastlain, a photojournalist who worked with KARK and KTHV in Little Rock has been hired to replaced Rusty Jackson as the Fort Smith sports
reporter at KHBS/KHOG.

Beau is a 1996 graduate of DeQueen High School and attended UCA in Conway where he graduated in 2001 with a degree in Telecommunications and Computer Information Systems.

Beau played on the UCA baseball team and also enjoys golf and fishing. His first day at 40/29 will be on January 9th. "

The pic is from McCastlain's college profile.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

More Moving and Shakin' in NWA

This from the tip box:"Beth Burnett, a reporter at 40/29, has accepted a reporter position at KJRH in Tulsa. She will be leaving 40/29 after the first week of January."

KTHV Demands Payment for Signal; Will Be Dropped From Wehco Cable systems

Oh the can of worms Nexstar has opened. Take a look at this from

" You may be reading this message after learning your cable company will apparently drop Today’s THV and CBS on January 1st. Please allow me to explain why that may happen and what you can do to continue watching us.

The reason you would not be able to watch Today’s THV and CBS is because your cable company has decided not to pay for the right to retransmit our broadcast signals. They don’t want to pay us for the product we supply to them....that they re-sell to you.

Paying for programming is not a new concept to your cable company. They pay to obtain the right to carry most cable channels like ESPN, CNN, Lifetime, Disney, HBO, and many others.

We believe Today’s THV and CBS offer a valuable product, and we simply want to be paid a small fee compared to what some of the other program providers are paid. Your cable company may tell you we want you to pay for “free” TV. That is not true. In fact, Today’s THV is charged for much of the programming you see on our station. You can watch at no charge by simply setting up an antenna. But when your cable company receives our signals, then turns around and sells them to you – we believe that your cable company should compensate us like any other program provider.

The good news is you have several options so you can continue watching Today’s THV and CBS. As mentioned, use an antenna. Both our analog and digital signals can be seen with use of an antenna. Another option is to switch to either a Dish or DirecTV satellite system. Both of these major satellite companies already pay us for our signals, so you can subscribe to their services and continue receiving Today’s THV and CBS.

We don’t want you to miss out on so much popular programming including Dr. Phil, The Price is Right, and other daytime favorites, along with CBS’ number one prime time programs such as CSI, Survivor, Without A Trace, and 60 Minutes. The NFL playoffs are almost here, with the Grammy’s, NCAA Final Four, and the Master’s to follow. We take special pride in delivering Today’s THV news to you and thank you for tuning in each morning and evening.

We value your viewership and are sorry for the inconvenience caused by your cable company. If you want your cable company to carry Today’s THV and CBS, we ask you to contact them and let them know that...or take advantage of one of the options just mentioned.

Today’s THV will continue working to provide the best local news and weather coverage in Arkansas to you -- our viewer, no matter how you receive our signal. Thank you for taking time to consider our position on this issue.

Larry Audas
General Manager

UPDATE: 12/25

DCG comments: I guess I should title this a rant rather than comments. Anyway, this disappoints me very much. Living down here, too far from Little Rock to receive a watching signal from the tv stations and living just a little bit too far from Shreveport to get a good signal from the tv stations there, we have no choice but to depend on cable to get the 'local' channels. Sure I could get a dish BUT then I'd be stuck with all the hiccups when the weather turns bad and you need information fast. Down here we depend on the combination of the Little Rock stations and the Shreveport stations for our news and weather information. Little Rock stations don't do a good job of covering things that go on down here so we depend on the Shreveport stations to catch the slack. BUT Little Rock has the best weather technology and the best quality reporters and newscasts.

Who would have thought come January 1, 2006 that we'd be losing both KARK and KTHV. I can only wonder if KATV isn't far behind? I see both sides of the arguement and in the end it's the public in which the station's, who are suppose to be operating in the public's interest and not their pocketbook, that will suffer. I don't want my cable bill to go up and I don't wanna lose the stations either. I think it all comes down to greed on both sides, the station's and the cable company's.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Comcast Reportedly Reaches Deal With Nexstar

Arkansas is reporting Nexstar and Comcast have reached an agreement to keep KARK on its system. Here's what has to say about the deal:

"“Comcast doesn’t want to announce anything, but I can tell you that you can consider the deal done,” said Duane Lammers, COO of Nexstar. “They didn’t want to put anything out about it, but we’ll be on Comcast in your market.”

Lammers said part of the deal was not to release terms of the agreement.

The old deal between Nexstar and Comcast was to expire Dec. 31, and officials had said if a deal was not done before then, KARK would be gone at midnight New Year’s Eve." MORE

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Former 20/49 Reporter on the Move

This from the tip box: "Former 40/29 reporter Sean Kelly is now reporting for WCVB in Boston, his hometown. Kelly left KHBS for WPBF in West Palm Beach, Fla."

Saturday, December 17, 2005

KNWA Hires Weekend Anchor

Arkansas reports KNWA has hired Alexa Hamblin to be weekend anchor/reporter. says, "Hamblin previously served as primary anchor for the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts at KTEN-TV in Dennison, Texas. She also served as the 5 p.m. anchor and producer."

She replaced Aryana Evers, who left in November.

KTAL Back on Cable One

Source: Texarkana Gazette A 350-day standoff ended Friday as Cable One and Nexstar Broadcasting signed a multiyear retransmission agreement, bringing KTAL NewsChannel 6 back to the cable lineups of 21,000 cable TV subscribers in Texarkana.

“We reached an agreement in principle ... exchanged a couple contract drafts and literally got it done about an hour ago as far as signatures and everything,” Duane Lammers, Nexstar’s chief operating officer, said mid-afternoon Friday.

As he spoke, KTAL was being placed back on the air for local subscribers. KTAL had its local cable TV plug pulled at the beginning of the year when Nexstar, the parent company of KTAL, and Cable One failed to reach an agreement.

“There hadn’t been any contract from February until a couple weeks ago,” Lammers said.

Jay Butler, Cable One’s Texarkana general manager, said the company was pleased an agreement was reached.

“We’re very pleased that the companies have reached agreement and pleased to have the NBC programming back on the cable system,” Butler said.

The agreement also brings Nexstar Broadcasting stations back to Cable One in other markets, including Joplin, Mo., and Amarillo, Texas, Lammers said. MORE

Saturday, December 10, 2005

New KATV Reporter on Air

(First off I know he probably started earlier in the week BUT I just saw him for the first time tonight.) Former KHBS-KHOG sports reporter Rusty Jackson is on air at KATV. Jackson replaces Leland Vittert who left for a station in Florida. Jackson is a U of A graduate and is originally from Monticello.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

KNWA 'Under the Weather'

This from the tip box: "KNWA is having major problems tonight. It's audio is completely gone, replaced by a fuzz. Called the station and they didn't have a clue. Girl said "Hmm, everything is fine here in the studio." The audio quit when they started running a constant crawl letting us know that it was snowing. "

Saturday, December 03, 2005

THV's Noon Program a Trendsetter

An article at says the type of program you find on THV at noon is the type of program that is being put on the air on many of the other Gannett owned stations across the country. The article says that Gannett owned stations in Denver, Sacramento, Calif., Atlanta, Cleveland and a number of other markets have programs like THV's on the air.

THV General Manager Larry Audas describes the program this way: "“It is not a formula-based program like others are doing,” Audas said. “We don’t want to conduct any kind of commercial business during the newscast, and that’s why we have separated those two types of programs. So they’re separate programs — one is a newscast and one is community news, some sponsorship-type program.”"

The program is hosted by Sheryl Lackey.

Read the full article HERE.

Mixed Signals Between Nexstar and Wehco

Well it seems no one really knows how close of far away Wehco Media is from striking a deal to keep Nexstar owned and operated KARK on its cable systems across the state. Here's a bit from a story on Arkansas

"The situation was updated Nov. 29 in a story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and it seems as if Nexstar and Wehco are still not close to being on the same page. An anonymous official with Wehco told the paper that talks have just begun, while Nexstar officials maintain that a deal is in its final stages."

AND it seems Comcast Cable and Nexstar have not been successful thus far in striking a deal and cable subscribers aren't the only ones waiting for the outcome. Another bit from the article:

"But even more pressing for Nexstar is the retransmission consent agreement it is trying to reach with Comcast, which would have much greater repercussions nationally.

Chuck Spohn, general manager at Clear Channel’s KLRT-TV, Channel 16, told Outtakes that the whole country is keeping an eye on that battle.

“Comcast is a big player in the business nationally,” he said. “Should they bend and start paying Nexstar the fee, then everybody everywhere will start wanting to collect a fee. Both sides have a lot riding on this.”"

Well there's less than a month to go. Anybody willing to make bets KARK will dissappear from many cable systems around the state?