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Comcast to drop KOVR, KCRA in Northern California community

(Photo: KOVR)
(Photo: KOVR)

Two Sacramento television channels will soon disappear from Comcast cable systems in one region of Northern California.

KOVR-TV (CBS) and KCRA-TV (NBC) will be unavailable to Comcast customers in Butte County, California starting October 22.

The move comes one month after two Chico-based television stations, KHSL (CBS) and KNVN (NBC) successfully petitioned the FCC to grant them a waiver for KOVR and KCRA’s “significantly-viewed status” in the Chico-Redding television market, which includes Butte County. Both stations claimed viewership of KCRA and KOVR in the Chico-Redding market took eyeballs away from the market’s own CBS and NBC affiliates.

Oddly, KHSL and KNVN convinced the FCC to revoke KOVR and KCRA’s “significancy-viewed status” by commissioning a report from Nielsen that revealed KOVR and KCRA had inadequate viewership in the market to be afforded the status.

Cable companies who want to continue providing KOVR and KCRA in the Chico-Redding market will soon have to black out network and syndicated programming on the two Sacramento stations that are also proved on the Chico stations (in effect making most of KOVR and KCRA’s broadcast day, except news, unavailable in the Chico-Redding market). Instead of doing this, Comcast has decided to drop the channels altogether.

KOVR and KCRA did not challenge the two Chico station’s petition to the FCC. KOVR notified viewers in Butte County on Tuesday that their signal would be dropped on Comcast in late October. KOVR told viewers in Butte County they could receive the station by using an outdoor antenna.

KOVR and KCRA could still extend their news reach to Chico-Redding by making newscasts available on-demand to Comcast and other cable subscribers. It is unclear if the two stations will do so.

Sacramento-based KOVR is owned by CBS, while KCRA is owned by Hearst Television. Both KHSL and KNVN are operated by GOCOM Media.

RBR: ‘Giant killers’ chase TV stations out of Chico
KOVR: How to watch CBS13 with an antenna in Butte County

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).