TWC and Journal Broadcast Group Dispute Drags On


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Time Warner Cable's blackout in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit and Denver of CBS and affiliated cable networks (Showtime, CBS Sports, and the Smithsonian Channel) lasted almost exactly one month. The blackout of Journal Broadcast Group in Wisconsin, including WTMJ Milwaukee, is fast approaching two months. But there are subtle signs the end is at hand.

For one thing, they've stopped hurling accusations, and counter-counter accusations, in public. Another indication is that Steve Wexler, vice president of radio and TV for JBC, claimed they were "finally engaged in active negotiations... to close the gap on remaining differences..." And, "We remain hopeful we can put this dispute behind us soon, especially with another Sunday night NFL game now jeopardized, not to mention the kickoff of the fall TV season."

But then, TWC pulled a fast one. Spokesman Michael Pedelty claimed there was "nothing new to report." and announced that Time Warner subscribers can watch the Sunday Night NFL telecasts on line for free, including San Fransisco versus Seattle at NBC Sports Yup. He showed football fans why they don't need for WTMJ or Time Warner Cable TV! Any died in the wool sports fanatic can appreciate a little gamesmanship.

Both sides are clearly taking a financial hit, with WTMJ's evening newscasts losing about a third of their audience in August compared with July, and Time Warner COO Rob Marcus claiming the blackout "suppressed connects on the front end and increased disconnects of existing customers."

Christmas, anyone?

Time Warner-Journal Broadcast standoff is epicenter of national battle