On Monday, August 13, Soap Opera Network first brought you the story of WKDH, an ABC affiliate that will cease operations effective Friday, August 31, 2012 at 11:59 PM CT after citing poor financial conditions in recent years as its reasoning. Now Soap Opera Network has learned that the ABC Television Network, which was left scrambling to replace the 11-year-old affiliate, has signed a long-term agreement with WTVA, an NBC affiliate that had actually provided WKDH with ABC programming through a local marketing agreement (LMA) with Southern Broadcasting, Inc. (WKDH’s parent company). The new deal, by utilizing WTVA digital channel 9.2, will enable ABC programming to remain in the Columbus/Tupelo/West Point television market and is effective Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 12:35 AM, Central Time.
“We are delighted to reach a long-term affiliation agreement with ABC and be able to provide a solid lineup of programming such as ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ ‘Once Upon a Time,’ ‘Revenge’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live,’ critically-acclaimed news and information series including ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘World News with Diane Sawyer’ and high profile sports programming like ‘Saturday Night Football,’” said Phil Sullivan, Station Manager, WTVA, in a statement.
John Rouse, senior vice president of Affiliate Relations for ABC, echoed Sullivan’s comments. “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with WTVA coverage in the Columbus/Tupelo market, and that local viewers will continue to be able to see all their favorite ABC and ESPN on ABC programs, including this Saturday’s 2012 Cowboys Classic featuring Michigan vs. Alabama.”
As part of the deal between WTVA and ABC, WTVA 9.2 will now service viewers with local news coverage. WKDH did not air any local programming as its primary service was in providing viewers with ABC’s content. Outside of ABC’s programming, WKDH aired the syndicated programs “Rachael Ray,” “The Nate Berkus Show,” “The Wendy Williams Show,” “Access Hollywood,” “The Insider” and “Entertainment Tonight.” WKDH also aired re-runs of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “Frasier” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
It is unclear at this time as to whether those syndicated programs will continue airing on WTVA digital channel 9.2.
Citing poor financial conditions, ABC affiliate WKDH, located in Houston, Mississippi and serving the Columbus, Tupelo, and West Point television markets, will cease operations at the end of this month.
“It is with extreme regret, remorse, and disappointment that we must make the following announcement. Due to financial conditions in recent years, effective at 11:59 p.m. on August 31, 2012, WKDH will terminate operations for the foreseeable future,” Southern Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WKDH through its local marketing agreement (LMA) deal with NBC affiliate WTVA, said in a statement on the affiliates website. “It has been our pleasure to have served you and provided you with the highest quality of service and programming in the Columbus-Tupelo-West Point television market since we launched broadcast operations in 2001, and through the complex conversion to high definition television in 2007. We wish to thank you, our loyal viewers and all those individuals who helped in our efforts to serve the public interest, for your support over the years.”
WKDH, Channel 45, began operations in June 2001, nearly six years after station WVSB (now known as WLOV) transitioned into a FOX affiliate and left the area without an official ABC affiliate. During that time period cable providers sifted ABC signals from Memphis, Tennessee affiliate WPTY.
WKDH did not air any local programming as its primary service was in providing viewers with ABC’s content. Outside of ABC’s programming, the station aired the syndicated programs “Rachael Ray,” “The Nate Berkus Show,” “The Wendy Williams Show,” “Access Hollywood,” “The Insider” and “Entertainment Tonight.” WKDH also aired re-runs of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “Frasier” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
ABC has not announced how it plans to accommodate those affected viewers in the television market.