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Comcast won’t drop KCRA, other Hearst stations in “neighboring” markets

The logo of Sacramento television station KCRA. (Logo: Hearst/Graphic: The Desk)

Comcast has reached an agreement with Hearst Television that will keep in place around three dozen local television stations in markets outside of their designated broadcast areas.

The deal affects 38 Hearst-owned stations, including Sacramento NBC station KCRA-TV (Channel 3), which was slated to be removed from Comcast’s systems in areas covered by the Chico and San Francisco Bay Area television markets.

Last month, Comcast sent a notice to customers warning KCRA would be dropped on cable TV systems in and around Chico and portions of Solano County and Contra Costa County that fall outside of the immediate Sacramento broadcast area.

“The owner of the station from the neighboring market is insisting we pay additional fees to continue to carry their station in your area,” the notice said. “That station offers much of the same content as the one in your local market. In an effort to keep costs down for our customers, we didn’t accept their proposal.”

The plan caused an outcry among some national politicians, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who argued that some of her constituents would be forced to watch local news programming from a channel based in another state if Comcast removed Hearst-owned ABC station WCVB (Channel 5) from its systems.

This week, a Comcast spokesperson confirmed the situation with Hearst had been resolved and the channels will not be removed from customer line-ups.

“We have come to an agreement with the owners of these stations that will allow us to offer them in the same manner as we have in the past,” a Comcast representative said in a statement. “As a result, these stations will remain in our channel lineup.”

The spokesperson said Comcast will be notifying customers about the deal in the coming days. Terms of the new deal were not disclosed.

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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).