Local television viewers might miss out on The Bachelor, their favorite soap opera General Hospital or even the Super Bowl if negotiations fail between Horry Telephone Company (HTC) and the local ABC and NBC affiliates before the Dec. 31 deadline.
HTC, a major local cable provider for TV viewers in Horry County, is bucking a 75-percent increase over the current rates the local networks’ parent companies are asking in order to continue programming beginning in January, 2018.
That would also mean a loss of local news coverage by WMBF and WPDE, and weather reports by Ed Piotrowski.
HTC said in a statement issued Wednesday they want to ensure access, but the fees are getting expensive from Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns WPDE, and Raycom Media, owner of WMBF.
“While broadcasters demand a sharp increase in fees and then threaten to pull their channels from our cable system until their demands are met, HTC will be fighting on behalf of our members to keep rates down and maintain uninterrupted programming,” said Sandy Hendrick, HTC marketing supervisor.
“We negotiate in good faith, but when these large corporate media groups, Sinclair and Raycom, ask for increases of 75 percent over the current rates without justification, it makes the process more difficult,” Hendrick said in a statement.
Sarah Miles, the general manager of WMBF and Billy Huggins, general manager for WPDE, have not responded to requests for comment.