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Sinclair warns Frontier Cable customers of TV stations, Tennis Channel blackout

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. said that does not expect to renew its retransmission agreement with Frontier Communications Corp. unit Frontier Cable before Jan. 1, 2017.

As a result, Frontier will not carry Sinclair's ABC (US)-affiliates KOMO-TV in Seattle and KATU-TV in Portland, Ore., starting Jan. 1, 2017. Further, Frontier does not plan to offer Sinclair-owned Tennis Channel (US) after Dec. 31 to its subscribers.

Barry Faber, Sinclair's executive vice president of distribution and network relations, said Dec. 20 that the loss of carriage is not expected to have a material impact on any of the affected stations, "given that Frontier subscribers represent less than three percent of the total households in each of Seattle and Portland. The expected loss of Tennis Channel subscribers is similarly small."

In an FAQ section on its website, Frontier informed its customers that its contracts with Sinclair, Tribune Media Co. and Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. are expiring Dec. 31. Frontier said some of these companies are "demanding unreasonable rate increases" and suggested that Frontier may remove some channels unless a deal is reached at a fair price. Frontier added that TV station programming lost during the blackout can be accessed through websites of their affiliates, pointing to a list that showed that the programming from Sinclair's two ABC-affiliated TV stations was available on abc.com.