Deadline Looms For Tribune-Charter Contract
Tribune Broadcasting television stations in 24 markets across the United States have begun informing Charter Spectrum subscribers that they may lose the local news, traffic, weather, sports and entertainment programming provided by the company’s 33 television stations in those markets at 12 a.m. ET Jan. 1, 2019, when the contract between Tribune Broadcasting and Spectrum expires.
More than six million subscribers could be impacted if an agreement is not reached; in addition to local news, such programming as the National Football League playoffs and NCAA basketball could be lost. At the same time, more than 14 million subscribers nationwide also may lose access to WGN America, Tribune’s basic entertainment cable network.
“The NFL playoffs begin Jan. 5 and we want football fans in our markets to be able to watch these games and root for their favorite teams—we want to reach an agreement with Spectrum,” said Gary Weitman, Tribune Media’s SVP for corporate relations. “We’ve offered Spectrum fair market rates for our top-rated local news, live sports and high-quality entertainment programming, and similarly fair rates for our cable network, WGN America. Spectrum has refused our offer.”
Tribune has established websites for each of its affected television stations and for WGN America where Spectrum customers can obtain more information about the potential for service interruptions. Spectrum customers are being urged to call the company directly at 1-833-267-6094 to voice their concern about any possible service interruption.
“We are only a few days away from the deadline to reach an agreement with Spectrum, just as we have done with every one of our other cable, satellite and telco distributors,” said Weitman. “We felt that now was the time to begin telling Spectrum subscribers that they may lose access to our stations and the programming they provide.”