Hearst, TWC disagreement leads to WMTW blackout

An impasse in negotiations between Hearst Television and Time Warner Cable has led to the blacking out of Portland-based WMTW’s channel on the cable carrier.

WMTW normally shows up on channel 8 in the greater Portland area and other parts of the state. Tuesday morning, it showed only a blue screen with a short message from the station. The carriage agreeement between Hearst and Time Warner ended Monday night at 11:59 p.m. Both WMTW and Time Warner issued statements on the situation.

“Last night, Hearst Television chose to black out their signals from our customers rather than continue negotiations, despite their CEO saying just two weeks ago that broadcaster blackouts are unfair to consumers,” reads a statement issued by Andrew Russell, Time Warner’s communications manager for New England. “Time Warner Cable has reached hundreds of agreements with other broadcasters without broadcaster blackouts, but Hearst’s demand for a nearly 300 percent increase is way out of line. That kind of outrageous increase is unfair to our customers and unsustainable for our business.”

WMTW said in a statement that “notwithstanding our best efforts to reach a new carriage agreement, we were unable to do so.”

“We cannot predict if or when discussions with Time Warner will resume or if or when WMTW’s programming will be restored on Time Warner systems,” the statement reads.



“In light of this impasse, we urge viewers to make alternative arrangements for receipt of our signal. Our signal remains available over the air for free and also on other cable systems, DIRECTV and DISH Network.”

According to the statement from Time Warner, this also affects carriage of WMUR-TV from Manchester, N.H.,  WNNE-TV from Hanover, N.H.,  and WCVB-TV out of Boston, Mass.