By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
More than 30 years of experience covering the TV technology industry.

Comcast has settled a carriage dispute with Imagicomm Communications, returning two Fox stations to its Xfinity lineup on Tuesday (October 17). The stations, KAYU-TV in Spokane, Washington, and WHBQ-TV in Memphis, Tennessee, were removed from Xfinity on September 10 when the two companies could not reach a new carriage pact. That meant that Xfinity viewers in those two markets have been unable to watch NFL or college football games (and other Fox programming) since the first full week of those two football seasons.

“FOX 28 has been returned to Xfinity effective 10/17/23,” the Spokane station says in a statement posted at its web site. “We are pleased to be able to reach an agreement with Xfinity/Comcast in order to restore service to our loyal viewers so each can watch our compelling FOX programming and local news. Thank you for your support and patience during the last few weeks while we worked to reach this new agreement with Comcast/Xfinity.”

Comcast said in its statement: “We’re pleased to be able to return KAYU and WHBQ to our customers through a new agreement with their owner, Imagicomm Communications, which reflects today’s evolving media marketplace and stabilizes the cost of programming to our customers.”

The companies did not announce terms, but Comcast, like other pay TV operators, has cautioned that the escalating fee demands of networks and local stations has forced it to raise prices, causing millions of subscribers to cut the cord.

“(Imagicomm) has a history of demanding unfair prices at the expense of the consumer and already charges a very high broadcast retransmission consent fee,” Comcast said in a statement when the blackout first began in September.

The Comcast-Imagicomm settlement follows recent carriage resolutions between DIRECTV and Nexstar and Spectrum TV and Disney. But Dish and several local broadcasters are still engaged in fee fights.

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— Phillip Swann