FOX fight blocks football in Juneau

A dispute between Juneau’s FOX TV affiliate and cable TV provider GCI is likely to keep Alaskans from watching football this weekend.

In a sternly worded statement released Friday, GCI said the affiliate abruptly turned off the FOX signal to Juneau on Wednesday amid a dispute about how much GCI should pay for FOX programming.

“GCI has carried FOX to our Southeast Alaska customers for years, most recently under a 2011 agreement that is good through 2018. The owners of the (Southeast) FOX station and their new Lower 48 representative turned off that signal on (Wednesday), claiming for the first time that the contract does not allow GCI to show FOX programming in Southeast Alaska. This claim is false and totally contrary to how the parties have been operating under the 2011 contract for the last six years,” GCI wrote.

The cable provider went on to accuse the affiliate of trying to exercise leverage in ongoing negotiations.

“Their real goal is clear: they are using FOX programming to pressure GCI into a 300 percent increase across multiple stations statewide, including ABC and CW that expire later this year,” GCI wrote. “In Alaska that’s not called negotiating, that’s called robbery.”

For its part, the company that runs the FOX affiliate here said in a competing statement that it notified GCI on Wednesday that GCI was illegally using FOX programming in violation of FCC rules and needed to stop.

Unless the dispute is resolved before kickoff, Juneau residents must turn to satellite TV or an over-the-air antenna to watch the Green Bay Packers play the Chicago Bears, and the Dallas Cowboys play the Atlanta Falcons.

College football would also be affected. FOX is scheduled to broadcast Michigan State-Ohio State, USC-Colorado and TCU-Oklahoma on Saturday.

So-called carriage disputes, or rate disputes between TV channels and cable or satellite companies have become increasingly common as TV markets shift. A growing number of Americans are dropping cable TV in favor of Internet-only options, pressuring cable and satellite companies’ bottom lines. GCI, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, had 24,991 cable TV customers in the third quarter of 2017. That’s down from 26,134 cable TV customers in the third quarter of 2016.

At the same time, TV channels are asking for higher fees from cable companies, setting up conflicts that have repeatedly led to blackouts.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 523-2258.


More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Aug. 14

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This October 2020 photo shows the MV Kennicott. The Alaska Marine Highway System's winter ferry schedule is now available for review. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Winter ferry schedule available for review

Comments now being accepted.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Supporters of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski wait for an opportunity to talk to her at her newly Juneau campaign headquarters Thursday evening at Kootznoowoo Plaza. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Murkowski opens up at Juneau HQ debut

Senator chats with supporters about U.S. vs. Belgium voting, moose chili and Project Veritas

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

U.S. Senate candidate Shoshana Gungurstein stars in a campaign sign within view of the Alaska governor’s mansion. Gungurstein, an independent, got exposure this week for being a Hollywood actress under a different last name after questions about her past went unanswered throughout the campaign. She is one of 19 candidates seeking to be among the four selected in next Tuesday’s primary to compete in the November general election. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Senate candidate sheds more light on background

Shoshana Gungurstein responds at length to recent report on past film career.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Drug arrest made in Skagway

Police say a suspicious package was intercepted.

This late-April photo shows a damaged sticker on a door at Thunder Mountain High School reminding people to social distance and wear masks inside the building. Masks will not be required in school buildings this year. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
No mandatory masks or COVID-19 tests for new school year

No mandatory masks or COVID-19 tests for new school year

Most Read