- Good news for Colts fans: Post-season games will be on CBS and Fox
By FRANK PHILLIPS
Watching TV over the weekend wasn't as easy as ABC. Especially if you were trying to watch ABC on the Brazil cable-TV system Saturday night.
To the amazement of Charter Communications subscribers, at midnight New Year's Eve, just as the big ball began to drop in New York City, Brazil cable subscribers saw WRTV 6, Indianapolis, go dark -- literally.
At 12:01 a.m. Jan. 1 Channel 6 went off the air in Brazil, thus denying local cable viewers the opportunity to watch ABC programming, including sports.
Because there is no ABC affiliate in Terre Haute, viewers have to rely on either a very good antenna to pick up WRTV off the air or subscribe to the Dish satellite service to pick up the ABC affiliates in New York or Chicago. Because of legal agreements, Dish does not offer viewers in Brazil the Indianapolis ABC affiliate.
But there is good news for professional football fans, including fans of the Indianapolis Colts. On Tuesday, the NFL announced the AFC post-season playoff games (including the Colts) will be broadcast on CBS and the NFC games will be on Fox.
Both Charter Communications and WRTV are blaming the other company.
Brian Posnanski, a Charter Communications spokesman, told The Brazil Times, "WRTV delivered an ultimatum" to Charter. "They decided to not allow us to broadcast their signal. They broke off negotiations."
While the contracts between TV stations and cable-TV companies are confidential, Posnanski said WRTV's demands were 99 percent out of sync with other TV station contracts with Charter. Brazil has negotiated 67 similar agreements with Indiana and Illinois TV stations in the past year, he said.
A call to WRTV resulted in the switchboard operator playing a telephone message addressed to viewers of Charter Communications cable-TV.
That message said Charter refused to renew its contract with WRTV. The station has reached agreement with most cable systems, the message said.
Meanwhile both WRTV and Charter say their companies are working to restore service.
The big winner in this dispute might be Dish network, which offers local stations plus ABC and other networks.