Gray Television is "very encouraged" by recent retransmission deals struck by Sinclair Broadcasting, CBS stations and Nexstar Broadcasting Group and hopes to aggressively fight for retransmission fees, says James Ryan, senior VP and CFO, speaking at a Bear Stearns media conference in Palm Beach, Fla.
Ryan says most of Gray's contracts with cable operators come due for renegotiation in 2008. "We're prepared to fight," he says.
He said that, in the past, Gray shied away from retrans disputes in some markets because it feared if the battle became protracted, the Gray station in the market could give up market share and revenues to a competitor.
Ryan said Gray could realize $15 million-$25 million in retransmission fees. Gray's largest market stations are in Knoxville, Tenn., Lexington, Ky. and Charleston-Huntington, W.Va.