NBC, Cable Firm Reach Deal on Carrying Channel 4

A local cable television company and KNBC Channel 4 reached an eleventh-hour agreement late Tuesday, enabling subscribers to continue to receive the station's programming, executives of the companies said.

Bill Rosendahl, Century Cable's senior vice president, said in a broadcast announcement that his firm reached an agreement with NBC executives in New York.

Century's highly public dispute with KNBC over terms by which Century could continue to provide its 210,000 subscribers access to Channel 4 arose because of a new federal law allowing networks to charge cable companies for the use of network signals.

Locally, most companies had worked out agreements with not only NBC but also with ABC, CBS and Fox networks. KNBC and Santa Monica-based Century had been the exception.

Until the agreement was reached with the network, subscribers in parts of the Westside, west San Fernando Valley and eastern Ventura County were to lose Channel 4 at 12:01 this morning.

Since Thursday, when KNBC aired commercials attacking the cable company for dragging its feet in negotiations and Century responded by scrolling its own text over the commercials, the cable company received 30,000 telephone calls from upset subscribers, Rosendahl said.

He said he is "very disappointed with the tactics employed by the local KNBC station."

But the network affiliate got its licks in too.

Its president and general manager said in an ad in today's Times that "it is extremely unfortunate that Century has been unwilling to reach an agreement similar to those endorsed broadly by the rest of the cable industry."

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