Seeing the Retrans Issue From Both Sides of the 'Block'


Here’s an interesting one. WDRB Louisville, part of Block Communications, went dark as of midnight May 31 after it and Time Warner Cable failed to reach a retransmission deal.

Then, over in Toledo, Buckeye Cable is suing American Spirit Media, owner of WUPW, over retrans payments, saying the new rates demanded by Raycom’s WTOL–which has a new shared services agreement with WUPW–are unfair.

Buckeye Cable’s parent?

Block Communications. 

Block Communications Chairman Allan Block is not enjoying being the point man on these two retrans battles. “It’s a terrible feeling to be in the position I’m in,” he said. “I don’t feel good being hit in two directions at once on the same issue.”

Block isn’t the only company that owns broadcast stations and cable systems. There are Washington Post Company, Cox and Schurz Communications, among others.

Earlier this year, Schurz Senior VP Marci Burdick joked about overseeing both. ”I can speak out of both sides of my mouth,” she quipped. “Flip a coin and tell me what side you want me to talk about.”

For his part, Block just wants his retrans issues to be settled soon. “It doesn’t feel real good,” he said. “Thank God it’s Friday.”