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Sioux City TV Station Angered Over Use of Crash Footage

July 22, 1989

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ The news director of an Iowa television station threatened to sue other stations if they refused to pay extra for exclusive footage of the crash of United Airlines Flight 232.

KTIV-TV in Sioux City, an NBC affiliate, intended the exclusive footage of the tumbling, burning DC-10 jet to be used only by NBC Nightly News and other NBC affiliates, KTIV news director Van Carter said Friday.

But it played on other networks’ affiliates, including rival KCAU in Sioux City, after it was transmitted from Sioux City to NBC in New York via a satellite channel owned by Minneapolis-based Conus Communications.

″For those who didn’t ask, they are going to get billed substantially more than those who did,″ Carter said. ″If they don’t want to pay it, then yes, we may wind up with legal action.″

Conus, a news service that feeds 133 television stations, said it obtained the footage from WOWT of Omaha, Neb., which has a reciprocal agreement to share footage with KTIV and was sent to transmit the footage to NBC News.

Technical and time restraints prompted WOWT to use Conus’ satellite channel to transmit the video instead of feeding it directly to NBC, said Conus spokesman Steve Blum.

After being assured by WOWT and a KTIV reporter that the two stations shared videotapes, Conus made the video available to its members through WOWT, Blum said.

Conus later talked to a KTIV manager, who granted Conus the rights to the video for $300, Blum said.

″We weren’t trying to rip anybody off,″ Blum said. ″We got permission.″

Carter said the situation with Conus was ″confused,″ and that Conus may not be at fault. But he said Conus should have checked with him, not a reporter, before releasing the video.