Photo: NBC
Photo: NBC

Tegna’s 11Alive and WATL might go away for Spectrum customers

Originally posted Thursday, October 3, 2019 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Charter Communications, which owns Spectrum, said its subscribers may lose all Tegna-owned channels in 37 markets including Atlanta, Seattle, Dallas and St. Louis. 

There is a disagreement over how much Charter is willing to pay Tegna for access to its broadcast stations. In Atlanta, that would mean if an agreement isn’t met by the 7 p.m. EST deadline tomorrow, 11Alive and WATL-TV will no longer be accessible for subscribers.

[UPDATE: By Friday evening, the two sides extended negotiations as Tegna chose not to black out its channels. No new deadline has been set. ]

Spectrum subscribers, to access these channels, have to install an over-the-air digital broadcast antenna if they don’t have one already. 

In a note on its website, 11Alive said subscribers could lose access to “The Blacklist” season return Friday night and future episodes of “This is Us,” “The Voice,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “The Good Place” and “Chicago P.D.,” to name a few. Plus, they’d lose 11Alive news, “Jeopardy,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,’ “The Today Show,” “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” “Dr. Phil,” and “Days of Our Lives.” Its sister station WATL also airs “Dr. Phil” and “Jeopardy” as well as “Maury,” “Judge Jerry [Springer]” and “Sister Circle.”

Tegna, in a statement, noted: “Over the past few years, we reached hundreds of multi-year deals with cable and satellite companies all across the country, including DIRECTV, Comcast, DISH and many others. It has been disappointing that Spectrum, so far, has refused to reach an agreement.”

Charter provided this anodyne statement: “Our services are competitively priced and we provide our customers with superior products at a great value."

Sometimes these situations do get resolved before anything gets blacked out. Sometimes they only last a few days. Others last months. 

If it seems like these disputes are happening every week, they are. Hundreds of similar issues have cropped this year as both sides see subscribers fleeing to streaming services.  

Currently, Dish/Sling subscribers don’t get the local Fox affilate Fox 5 (WAGA-TV). 

In deals affecting Atlanta, Dish/Sling viewers lost CBS46 for two months over the summer.

For 19 days in August, DirecTV subscribers didn’t have access to CW69 in a dispute with CBS. 

Dish/Sling subscribers have also had no access to Fox Sports South and Southeast since July

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.