Issues Snag Kiro, Kcpq News Pact

The announcement was made but the deal wasn't done yesterday when KIRO-TV said its 10 p.m. news would have a home, starting Monday, on KCPQ-TV.

Somebody hit the pause button and, as of this morning, there was no deal and no solution in sight.

"We were literally minutes away from signing the contract," said KIRO-TV vice president and general manager John Woodin, who had issued a press release yesterday morning confirming a pact that wasn't. In the afternoon, the impasse was announced. Woodin called it "a deep philosophical issue."

CBS moves from KSTW-TV to KIRO on Monday, and prime-time network programming will squeeze out KIRO's 10 p.m. news hour. So the station had sought another outlet for the newscast. KCPQ's Fox programming would provide a strong lead-in to the news.

Neither Woodin nor KCPQ general manager Roger Ottenbach would elaborate about sticking points. "Our door is still open, without a question," Ottenbach said. "The ball's kind of in their court."

Possible issues are numerous. The three-year length of the deal, as announced by KIRO, would preclude KCPQ from launching its own news anytime soon.

KCPQ might wish KIRO to tailor the newscast to the youth-skewing Fox audience. Or it might simply be a dispute over who would sell advertising.

KIRO's news would give KCPQ an inexpensive entree into the lucrative local-news business. KCPQ is under pressure from Fox to launch a 10 o'clock newscast, which it had planned to do within a year or so.