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WTAE to remain on the air

by Gail Marsh

STAFF WRITER

An agreement has been reached between cable operator Time Warner and media company Hearst-Argyle Television Inc. that will allow local viewers to continue to receive WTAE, a Pittsburgh television station.

Lenny Hannigan, general manager of the local Time Warner Cable Co., said Monday a deal had been reached between the two companies and that the ABC affiliate would remain in the lineup. But Hannigan said he currently had few details of the retransmission contract at this time.

"I know there is a deal because we didn't have to take it off the air, but beyond that I haven't heard the details. I'm sure down the road they will be sending me more information," Hannigan said.

The original agreement between Time Warner and Hearst-Argyle, who owns WTAE, ended on Dec. 31, 1999.

Since that time, several contract extensions on the retransmission agreement have been in place, with the last extension ending Aug. 9.

Local residents have been concerned they would lose access to the ABC station and some of their favorite shows such as "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?," "The Practice" and "Monday Night Football."

Thomas Campo, manager of customer relations at Hearst-Argyle, said the deal is a "long-term agreement," but could not say the exact number of years it covered. The last agreement between the two companies was more than six years, he said.

Hearst-Argyle Television Inc. owns or manages 26 television stations throughout the United States, reaching more than 17 percent of all TV households.

Time Warner Cable, a division of Time Warner Entertainment, covers 12.6 million customers, with 90 percent of those customers in systems of 100,000 subscribers or more.

Staff writer Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447.

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