KTUU-TV today offered free carriage of Channel 2 News and NBC programming to rural GCI subscribers during coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, which run from February 6-23. The offer also includes subscribers to non-GCI cable systems in rural Alaska which receive the KTUU-TV signal from GCI’s transport links.
The offer of free carriage during the Olympics also covers southeast Alaska where Channel 2 News was removed from distribution on NBC affiliates KATH and KSCT in Juneau and Sitka respectively after GCI purchased those stations. In 2013, GCI entered the broadcast business with its purchase of those southeast stations along with KTVA, the CBS affiliate in Anchorage. Since then, GCI has announced the proposed purchase of three more CBS affiliates in southeast Alaska.
Southeast Alaska still receives NBC programming on the GCI owned stations, but no longer receives Channel 2 News on those stations. GCI subscribers in rural Alaska communities have been without KTUU-TV and NBC programming since early-November 2013. Channel 2 is the only Alaska station with extensive news coverage of the Olympics from Sochi, Russia. Channel 2’s Charlie Sokaitis and Blake Essig will be on the ground in Sochi to provide first-hand coverage of the Alaskan athletes competing in the games.
“In the spirit of the Olympics, we don’t want to see a business dispute deprive rural and southeast Alaskans of this great competition or of Channel 2’s unique coverage of our Alaska athletes”, said KTUU-TV’s marketing director Brad Hillwig of the free carriage offer.
GCI and KTUU-TV have been at a stalemate on carriage negotiations since last fall for rural and southeast Alaska. Communities with access to the Alaska Rural Communication Service (ARCS) will receive NBC Olympics programming and most Channel 2 News newscasts.
Brad Hillwig, Marketing Director KTUU-TV 762-9203 firstname.lastname@example.org
KTUU-TV’s early beginnings date back to 1953. Over the ensuing six decades, the station has built a reputation of excellence as Alaska’s most watched news source, producing more than 22-hours of news and sports content each week on television. Online, KTUU.com has become a digital news leader, and Channel 2’s mobile News and Weather applications are on the leading edge of mobile journalism in Alaska. Nielsen Media research shows that Channel 2 News products reach more than 89-percent of the adults who watch local news in a week, and more than 85-percent of those viewers watch Channel 2 News exclusively. That strong reach and brand loyalty are augmented by added distribution to the state’s capital and more than 244 rural communities throughout Alaska.