Kathleen McLaughlin
The Bulletin

BendBroadband cable TV subscribers in Jefferson and Crook counties will lose access to stations covering news in Central Oregon on Wednesday.

The cable provider will take ABC affiliate KOHD and NBC affiliate KTVZ out of the lineup, said Cheryl McCollum, spokeswoman for TDS Telecom and BendBroadband. The decision was prompted by a request from Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns the Portland area ABC affiliate KATU, that BendBroadband remove KOHD from its lineup, she said. “Because that happened, we decided to remove the other out-of-market stations,” she said.

Although Jefferson and Crook counties are adjacent to Deschutes County and east of the Cascade range, they are in the Portland designated market area, which is determined by Nielsen Media Research. So Sinclair can enforce the FCC’s nonduplication rule, McCollum said.

KOHD is owned by TDS Telecom, which owns BendBroadband and Zolo Media. The company also owns KBNZ, a CBS affiliate that is a low-power station and not broadcast in Jefferson and Crook counties.

KTVZ is owned by News-Press & Gazette Company.

KTVZ General Manager Bob Singer was not available Friday, but the station issued a statement citing BendBroadband’s regulatory and contractual authority.

“We’ve enjoyed providing local news, information and entertainment over the years for the households affected by BendBroadband’s decision,” the statement reads.

“KTVZ does remain available over the air to all those impacted by the decision, and our news programs also are available on KTVZ.com’s livestream page.”

Cable TV subscribers across the country have dealt with outages driven by contract disputes between cable and broadcast companies. Most recently, BendBroadband subscribers in Madras, Crooked River Ranch, Culver, Prineville and Metolius lost Portland CBS affiliate KOIN because of an impasse in contract talks, which was resolved in time for the Super Bowl.

Costs were also a factor in BendBroadband’s decision to drop KTVZ along with KOHD, McCollum said. “It costs us more to broadcast stations out of market,” she said. “Due to that, we decided we’re no longer going to pay for duplicate programming.”

Sinclair spokesman Michael Padovano was not available to comment Friday.

— Reporter: 541-617-7860, kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com