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WAVY, Fox could go dark in dispute

Published 9:21pm Monday, November 26, 2012

Charter Communications customers could lose the ability to watch some of their favorite programming on NBC and FOX this Thursday.

The company’s contract to carry WAVY-TV and WVBT-TV is set to expire Thursday at 5 p.m., and the two sides have been unable to negotiate a new contract as of Monday.

“For many years, we have been providing viewers with around-the-clock news, weather, traffic and public service announcements, as well as popular local and national programming,” Doug Davis, president and general manager of WAVY, wrote in an email. “Despite our ratings and service to the community, we are compensated far less than many cable networks that Charter subscribers may not even watch. The bottom line is Charter profits by including broadcast stations like ours in its line-up.”

The dispute, WAVY has warned, could cause Charter customers to miss NFL football, television favorites like “Law and Order: SVU,” “30 Rock” and “The Office,” Christmas specials and more. “Glee” fans would miss their favorite show on WVBT.

A Charter spokeswoman called WAVY’s demands “outrageous.”

“WAVY is demanding an outrageous 150-percent increase in fees for continued carriage of their TV stations, and threatening to block viewing of their TV stations by Charter customers if their demands are not met,” Kristina Hill wrote in an email. “We’ve offered our top of market rate to WAVY, but they have refused. Charter customers have told us to take a firm stand against huge fee-increase demands such as this.”

WAVY posted a message to Charter customers on its website, encouraging folks who want to keep the channels to call Charter.

“Like any other business, it should pay fair market value for the ability to resell that programming to you,” the message reads. “It costs a substantial amount of money to produce local programming, bid for top-quality programming, invest in high-definition and make other upgrades to equipment and technology so we can deliver a superior product.”

In the message, WAVY encouraged viewers to watch the channels over-the-air by using an antenna if no agreement is reached. The same web page also carried contact information for Verizon, DISH and DirecTV.

But Charter believes folks will just turn to other stations for their local news, Hill wrote.

“Our customers understand that giving in to a 150-percent increase in fees is unacceptable,” she wrote. “They will watch local news on the other area TV stations … if necessary until a more reasonable fee is achieved.”

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  • guyr

    Number one, I’m not using an antenna. Haven’t had one for years and I’m not going to buy one. Charter can drop Wavy and all the local channels for all I care. There other methods, like Hula and other internet streaming services, which will allow me to watch most all of the shows that Wavy carries.

    Suggest Removal

  • suffolklady

    Why is it always WAVY that has this problem and not the other locals stations?? We experienced this same issue with our satellite provider and actually lost it for a few days before it was settled.

    Suggest Removal

  • OceanaJones

    I get sick and tired of Wavy and other local OTA carriers continuing to extort more money from the cable and satellite compainies. They know full well the money they extort from them is simply passed on to the subscribers. I suggest the cable and satellite companies seamlessly incorporate over the air technology into their receivers and provide their subscribers with OTA antennas.Don’t pay these extorsionist one more dime!

    Suggest Removal

  • cynical

    Let me see if I can understand this. WAVY wants Charter to pay more, increasing my cable bill, for a station that I can get *for free* using an antenna?

    I say let Charter drop WAVY and all local stations. Charter customers can start picking up local stations using an antenna instead. How quickly would WAVY and the locals change their tune?

    Suggest Removal

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