KEYT and Cox Battle Over Hi-Def TV

ABC Channel Sits Vacant

After two days of blaming one another for the recent lack of a high definition ABC television station in Santa Barbara, KEYT managers and Cox Communications officials have quieted. Calls to KEYT general manager and vice president Cathy Jacquemin and Cox director of public affairs David Edelman weren’t returned Thursday. On Friday, Edelman did return the phone call, but had nothing to say other than “at this point, each side has decided not to discuss the situation in public during contract negotiations.”

A page on KEYT’s website announces their launch of a new ABC HD signal, but when viewers turn to Cox channel 703, ABC’s high definition channel, there is no signal. KSBY in San Luis Obispo and KCOY in Santa Maria have each had high definition service for awhile, with KEYT lagging. Meanwhile, channel 703 has a message announcing that the signal ceased due to stalled contract negotiations.

During the 2006 Super Bowl in Detroit, when ABC broadcasted the game, KEYT allowed Cox to negotiate a temporary agreement with KABC out of Los Angeles. After the game, the Santa Barbara station agreed to let Cox use KABC for high definition service while KEYT got its equipment set, which it recently did after multiple months. Contract negotiations, however, have allegedly broken down, and viewers of such current programs as the NBA basketball playoffs and Lost are stuck without a hi-def signal.

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