Lupardo, Garnar Urge Spectrum Cable to Resume Negotiations with Northwest Broadcasting
Binghamton, NY – Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Broome County Executive Jason Garnar issued a letter Friday to Charter Spectrum President & CEO Tom Rutledge urging the cable company to resume contract negotiations with Northwest Broadcasting. The previous contract expired on January 31st and with no new contract in place, Spectrum pulled Northwest stations from its service; this includes WICZ (FOX40) and WBPN (My8) locally. Full text of the letter is below.
February 22, 2018
Tom Rutledge, President & CEO
c/o Charter Spectrum
12405 Powerscourt Drive
Columbia, MO 63131
Dear Mr. Rutledge,
We are writing to you regarding the current contract dispute between Spectrum Cable and Northwest Broadcasting. This dispute has resulted in two of our local broadcast stations, WICZ (FOX40) and WBPN (My8), being taken off the air by Spectrum; these stations have been unavailable to cable customers in the region for three weeks. We have heard from these local television stations, as well as many constituents and businesses being impacted by this situation, all of whom are hoping for a resolution to this issue.
Northwest has successfully negotiated new contracts with every other service provider that carries its stations with the exception of Spectrum. We understand that Northwest Broadcasting commenced negotiations in June of 2017 in anticipation of its contract with Spectrum expiring on January 31st of this year. However, Spectrum did not make a counter offer until the 11th hour and ultimately cut off service with no advance notice to its customers, a violation of FCC regulations.
This unfortunate dispute is already having financial impacts on the affected television stations as advertising revenues have declined. Luckily, none of the more than 40 employees at WICZ and WBPN have been affected thus far, but if revenue continues to suffer, layoffs are a real possibility for these workers.
As representatives for the residents of Broome County, many with disrupted service, we ask that you resume good faith negotiations with Northwest Broadcasting. Since your customers in our region are currently paying for service they are not receiving, we also urge you to restore these two stations as negotiations progress.
Jason T. Garnar
Donna A. Lupardo