Local TV

Fox, Nexstar Cut Ties in Springfield, Mo. and Ft. Wayne

Great network-affiliate battle of 2011 continues 6/20/2011 01:26:10 PM Eastern

Fox and Nexstar Broadcasting are parting ways in Springfield, Mo. and Fort Wayne, Ind.

Fox Broadcasting Company has reached an affiliation agreement with Koplar Communications' KRBK in Springfield to launch a new Fox affiliate on the station's digital channel September 1, 2011.

Springfield is DMA No. 74. The deal means Fox and the current Fox affiliate in the market, Nexstar's KSFX, are cutting their ties.

Fox has also reached an agreement with Granite Broadcasting for WISE Ft. Wayne to air Fox programming in DMA No. 107 on its subchannel starting August 1, ending the relationship with Nexstar's WFFT. Like KRBK, WISE is a MyNetworkTV affiliate and will broadcast both Fox and MyNetworkTV programming. It will be promoted as MY FOX FT. WAYNE.

Last month, Fox announced it and Nexstar are parting ways in Evansville, where Nexstar owns WTVW. Perry Sook, Nexstar chairman, president and CEO, has clashed with the network over payments required of affiliates that are tied to retransmission consent earnings. Sook has been one of the most visible champions for extracting retrans cash from subscription TV operators, and the networks are adamant about claiming a piece of that cash.

Sook did not return a call seeking comment. Neither KSFX General Manager Mark Gordon nor WFFT GM Bill Ritchart could be reached by presstime either.

Granite owns NBC affiliate WISE and manages ABC affiliate WAPT in Ft. Wayne, and airs CW Plus and MyNetworkTV on the stations' multicast channels. Jon Hookstratten, Fox Executive Vice President, Network Distribution, cited Granite for its "proven track record for providing local viewers with outstanding programming and community service, and its strong local news presence in Ft. Wayne."

KRBK will air Fox primetime from 7 to 9 p.m. and MyNetworkTV shows from 9 to 11. Hookstratten said he was pleased to have KRBK "join the Fox family." "It's a great opportunity to bring a fresh voice to the Springfield market," he said.

Last month, Fox also cut ties with Block Communications-owned KTRV Boise, which B&C reported is going to be an independent station come fall.

Fox continues to push its affiliates to share retrans money as part of their affiliation agreements, and has shown it will find a new local partner if stations balk at the terms.

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