WFLA-TV, Bright House negotiate as deadline nears
TAMPA - WFLA, News Channel 8, could disappear from Bright House Networks cable Jan. 1 if a new retransmission deal is not reached with station's parent company. The station's parent company, Media General Inc., and the cable operator have yet to agree on payment to stay in Bright House's channel lineup. If no agreement is reached by 11:59 p.m. Dec. 31, WFLA will no longer be available to Bright House subscribers. "We simply require that Bright House pay a fair market price for our content, just as its competitors do," WFLA said on dontdropwfla.com, a website on which the channel answers questions on the dispute. "We have and will continue to negotiate with Bright House in good faith in an effort to successfully complete a deal with them."WFLA, the NBC affiliate in the Tampa market, would remain free for viewers using a high-definition antenna. The negotiations also affect WFLA's HD affiliate, Me-TV (channel 607), which shows classic programs such as "M*A*S*H," "I Love Lucy" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Cable operators typically pay a fee to carry channels and networks. In recent years, such standoffs between stations and cable systems have become common but rarely lead to service interruptions. WFLA and Verizon FiOS went through a similar deadline negotiation last year on a retransmission contract. An agreement was reached two days before the deadline. Media General sold The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com in October to Tampa Media Group, although the media outlets still share some content.