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2014 flashback: Charter, WSB-TV resolve dispute

This was originally posted January 2, 2014 on the AJC Radio & TV Talk blog by Rodney Ho

[UPDATE: 1/1/14 2:44 p.m.: Just a few minutes ago, Charter Communications and WSB-TV resolved their conflict over transmission payments. WSB-TV is again available to Charter subscribers after a 14-hour blackout. The Capital One game between South Carolina and Wisconsin is now airing.]

Charter Cable subscribers in metro Atlanta lost access to WSB-TV during the middle of "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2014 with Ryan Seacrest" as the clock hit midnight.

The two parties are in dispute over how much Charter pays for access to the broadcast network. Subscribers, with an inexpensive HD antenna, can still access WSB-TV and newscasts are available on WSB-TV is the ABC affiliate and will air the Capital One Bowl today between South Carolina and Wisconsin. Some of ABC's most popular programming include "Good Morning America," "Live With Kelly and Michael," "The View," "General Hospital," "Scandal," "Modern Family" and the upcoming season of "The Bachelor."

The local newscasts of Channel 2 Action News are typically ranked No. 1 in the market.

These types of carrier disputes pop up every so often. DirecTV subscribers lost access to 17 channels including MTV and Nickelodeon for 10 days in July 2012.  Dish subscribers couldn't watch FX and NatGeo in 2010 for a month. Last year, Dish locally dropped Fox Sports South and SportsSouth, a dispute that is still ongoing after eight months.

WSB-TV explains its position here. According to their story, this is the first time a Cox Media Group station has ever been blacked out over a dispute like this. A Charter spokeswoman sent me this statement: “Charter has made the choice to focus on resolving terms of our agreement and negotiating in good faith – business to business. We have no comment on why Cox-owned WSB-TV and ME-TV would choose to remove their signal from our customers during contract talks."

If you are a Charter Cable subscriber, you can call them at 1-888-438-2427 if you want to express your opinion about this situation. You can contact WSB-TV here.

WSB-TV is part of Cox Media Group, which also owns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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About the Author

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