PRESS RELEASE – TV2 KLBC -vs- Suddenlink Communications

Published by The Bee News

March 11, 2019

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Press Release 3/11/19

Subject: tv2KLBC vs. Suddenlink Contact: Bruce Clark 702-298-2222
It is only fair the residents in Bullhead City, Mohave Valley, Ft. Mohave and Laughlin know the true facts regarding Suddenlink’s refusal to allow tv2 back on the Suddenlink system.
Over the last 20 plus years tv2KLBC had paid over 1.5 million dollars to be on their system. Keep in mind they pay all other television stations to rebroadcast their signal, none of which are local.
Approximately 3.5 years ago we got behind on payments to Suddenlink. They threatened to remove us from the system unless we made all the back payments. We signed a new agreement for 1 year. Even with the downturn in the economy we somehow succeeded.
Once the contract had been successfully accomplished, we continued operation. There was no new agreement. There was no clause in the previous agreement that would cause us to continue paying anything once we had met their original terms and conditions. We believed Suddenlink had finally begun to realize the importance to their system.
After operating for a about 6 months free from the obligation of payment we received a call from Jeff Kelly. I believe he is the regional manager for Suddenlink/Altice. He stated we must yet again make all back payments from the end of the last agreement and continue paying. His threats were of course taken seriously. In further conversation we explained we were still trying to recover from the economic downturn over the last 8 years. Obviously, we pointed to the service we provided to the communities, businesses, service organizations and individuals. Mr. Kelly then stated, send me something so I can go up the ladder and show them. He gave me two weeks.
The following Monday on the Morning Show I asked our viewers to send me an email with their thoughts of the importance of tv2 to the area. I mentioned it again on Tuesday saying it was simply to let the new owners, Altice Communications, know of the communities’ relationship and support of tv2. I did not elude to the real reason on tv hoping to give everyone an opportunity to rethink their position.
To say we were overwhelmed by the response would be an understatement. Within a week we received hundreds of well written support emails and letters. I only mentioned it twice on the show. We also received letters of support from several local and county officials. Facebook blew up and we knew there was great importance to what we were doing.
After collecting all the emails and letters I sent them back to Mr. Kelly in Flagstaff. There was no contact from Suddenlink/Altice from that point forward. That was 36 months ago.
Moving forward to present day, On the 1st of March our fiber optic link was damaged. It was told to us that there was nothing wrong on their end and all their testing indicated the issue was with our equipment. After tracing all weekend there was only one piece thought to be the culprit. On Monday that was ordered and overnighted. It was received Tuesday and installed. After installation in the studio with no change in the outage we found the broken fiberoptic line in the street behind our facility. It appears this was the problem from the beginning.
For the next 3 days we were told it wasn’t Suddenlink’s problem. They said the line was an abandoned line from the previous cable provider in Laughlin. They said they couldn’t fix it without a service agreement.
Early Friday, March 7th, I was told of a person with the knowledge, the correct tools and the availability to repair the fiberoptic line. He came out Saturday morning and repaired it.
In the meantime, Suddenlink decided to put their message on the screen, “Programming for KLBC Channel in Laughlin and Bullhead City is no longer available”.
We called the local representative after several unreturned calls from Mr. Kelly in Flagstaff. I was told to call the number at the bottom of my invoice. That number goes to their accounting office in Texas.
Even though there is no agreement, no contract and tv2 has been airing for the last 36 months with no contact, they appear to be demanding $70,000. from us.
Where does that leave tv2? I am not sure. We do not understand the mentality of removing the only local television station from their cable line up and we sure don’t have $70,000. I can’t possibly see how we can be having this conversation knowing we had no agreement, no conversation and were on the air for 36 months with no problems.
There is one small problem for them, Suddenlink appears to be in direct violation of the statutes provided by the FCC. 76.964 of the 1984 Cable Act. It specifically states the cable provider must give no less than 30 days’ notice to all its customers prior to any rate hike or CHANNEL CHANGES or Removal.
In the mean time we recently started streaming the Morning Show on Facebook, YouTube, the tv2 webpage and twitter. It is available on Smartphones and iPads. In one week, we saw 40,000 views online.
I know there has been an exodus from cable to streaming taking advantage of the program providers like Hulu and Netflix. However, we have a belief it is our responsibility to our communities to keep them informed, entertained and aware. We try to promote our communities to our visitors in the hotels and RV parks. We have been available to people that do not have or understand computers, seniors specifically.
We will celebrate our 30th anniversary on the 15 of March. We have provided local television to Bullhead City and the Valley for over 24 years. The Morning Show will celebrate it’s 6,000th show in the next few months. We have interviewed over 4,000 local dignitaries, entertainers, service organization representatives and community members. We donate at least $10,000 a month of free airtime to charities and organizations, from veterans to seniors. We believe we have made a difference.
I have included the Regional Manager’s contact information.
Jeff Kelly
Operations Manager Altice USA 1601 Plaza Way Flagstaff, AZ 86001

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