WTEN may go dark on cable tonight

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
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— Capital Region fans of “Modern Family” won’t have any problem watching tonight’s episode on television, but Thursday’s “Grey’s Anatomy” is in jeopardy for Time Warner Cable subscribers.

At midnight, WTEN-TV’s contract with Time Warner will expire, but the two sides are currently in negotiations to keep the channel on the air.

“Negotiations are ongoing and we remain hopeful that we will reach an agreement with no disruptions to our customers,” said Time Warner spokeswoman Jennifer Hollick.

She wouldn’t comment on the sticking points delaying a new contract but said, “It’s WTEN’s decision to take their channel off our local lineup.”

WTEN did not return a call for comment on the impending blackout. In a statement on its website, the company said it was hopeful an agreement would be reached. Additionally, they said their viewers should be aware of the potential loss of the channel on Time Warner.

Many viewers got a reminder of this possibility during the Sunday night broadcast of the Academy Awards, when a crawl on the screen explained that without a contract the station would go dark for Time Warner subscribers after today.

This negotiation tactic was not well received by Hollick. “We think it is wrong to put viewers in the middle of our contract disputes,” she said.

It was Sunday night when Stephanie Cash, 23, of Waterford, first saw the crawl and became aware that “The Bachelor” and “Modern Family” might not be seen on her television starting on Thursday.

“I watch them every single week,” she said. “If they weren’t available, I do not know what I’d do.”

WTEN is advising people that they can watch the station’s programs through its over-the-air signal or through other television providers. Hollick recommended that people not switch their cable provider because of this incident, noting that other providers endure blackouts of channels, too.

There are also options on the Internet to view WTEN programing, like Hulu or ABC’s website.

Kathryn Starczewski, 24, of Saratoga Springs, said viewing her WTEN programs on the Internet wouldn’t be as enjoyable.

“Most of the shows that I watch are with my family, so it sucks when you have to go around the computer instead of in the living room on the television. The whole part of watching a show is that experience, and it’s kind of ruined if you’re huddled around a laptop,” she said.

The lack of access to WTEN also seemed odd to Starczewski, who said the channel is a basic part of the television lineup.

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February 29, 2012
9:38 a.m.
dlittlecook says...

You can always hook up the laptop to your TV or get a $20-$40 digital/HD indoor antenna and hook it up. The whole idea of WTEN or any other local station charging rebroadcast fees is idiotic in the first place.

March 1, 2012
6:23 p.m.
Fritzdawg says...

I agree. Time Warner may very well be shooting themselves in the foot as subscribers discover they can watch the bulk of what they usually watch, for free.

March 3, 2012
1:11 p.m.
robbump says...

Why should charging for your product be idiotic? Why should Time Warner make a handsome PROFIT reselling something that they (would like to) get for FREE?

I'm sure if you and your neighbors want to share an antenna as a NON-PROFIT venture that WTEN won't be asking for any rebroadcast fee from you.

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