UPDATE: Charter Cable, WSB-TV Reach Agreement

The Atlanta station and the cable TV carrier are in a dispute over rights fees.

Charter screen display on WSB lineup slot. Credit: Steve Burns
Charter screen display on WSB lineup slot. Credit: Steve Burns
By Patch Editor Steve Burns 

Update 5:00 p.m., Jan. 1, 2014:

WSB-TV has announced that they have reached a rights fees agreement with Charter Cable and that WSB-TV programming has returned to Charter Cable subscribers as of 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Updated 10:15 a.m., Jan 1, 2014:

Shortly after midnight Jan. 1, WSB-TV went dark on the Charter cable television lineup, in a dispute over retransmission rights fees.

"Charter is currently negotiating to bring this station back on the air," a Charter programmed statement said. "Unfortunately, the owners of this station are demanding an unfair rate increase ..."

"We want to keep this station on the air, but not at a price that would increase fees to our customers. ... This was their decision, and we apologize for their actions."

The loss of WSB means not only the loss of local news telecasts, but the loss of ABC network programming, which includes such shows as "Good Morning America" and "Modern Family."

WSB news telecasts are streamed live on wsbtv.com, and some ABC programming is available on a delayed basis on hulu.com.

Note: Charter's statement was updated to note that it is "currently" negotiating.

Updated 11:32 a.m., Dec. 31

Charter Senior Director of Communications John R. Miller issued the following statement Monday to Patch regarding the situation with WSB:

"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 would choose to remove their signal from our customers during contract talks."

Original Story:

The new year may mean the loss of a popular Atlanta television station and its affiliated network shows for some metro Atlanta viewers, according to social media posts and television information.

WSB-TV, an ABC network affiliate, is telling viewers that Charter Communications, which provides cable TV services to many metro area households, "may drop" the channel on Jan. 1, 2014. WSB made the statement on Twitter on Dec. 24, and via a statement on the "crawl" during local newscasts. (see the attached screenshot)

The station gave no further details. However, such disputes between stations and cable/satellite providers generally involve fees.

A Charter spokesperson at the corporate office Monday (Dec. 30) declined to comment on the situation. Also, Charter's Facebook and Twitter feeds made no mention of the situation.

In a Twitter post on Dec. 24, WSB said:

Attn Charter Subscribers:On 1/1/14 Charter Cable may drop WSB-TV from its lineup.Call Charter 1-888-438-2427 to tell them do not drop #WSBTV

Should Charter indeed drop WSB, it would mean more than the loss of local news programming. WSB carries such ABC shows as "Modern Family" and "Dancing With The Stars" in prime time. Also, the Rose Parade from Pasadena, Calif., is scheduled to be on WSB on Jan. 1.

Reaction on WSB's Facebook page has been strong.

"Please work something out with Charter Cable so that they continue to air WSB. It is ridiculous that this has even gotten this far (or that I am just now hearing about it when the deadline is January 1st).", one viewer wrote.

-- What are your thoughts on the WSB-Charter situation? Do you think the impasse will actually happen? Tell us in the comments below.


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