Time Warner has agreed to reinstate WBTW-TV Florence SC to its old Ch. 13 slot on certain cable systems, and in return Media General is dropping emergency complaints concerning carriage of WBTW and two other stations. The station is in the Myrtle Beach-Florence Nielsen DMA.
TW will reinstate the CBS affiliate on the channel, bumping the Home Shopping Network back to its previous digs, on systems in South Carolina’s Georgetown and Williamsburg counties.
In exchange, MG will withdraw its complaints about WBTW, along with similar complaints about WNCT-TV Greenville NC and WCBD-TV Charleston SC.
MG had not challenged TW’s right to drop the stations, all of which were being moved off of systems outside their home DMAs. Rather, it was complaining that the TW had not given adequate notice of its plans to boot them off the channel lineup.
Ironically, the latest filing on the matter is to allow TW to reinstate WBTW and bump HSN without giving subscribers and local franchising authorities the full 30 days notice required before making the change. Of course, this time MG is entirely supportive of the move, and both parties promised the FCC they would use their programming streams locally to alert consumers as to where to find each station on the lineup.
The FCC agreed, approved the waiver, and happily terminated proceedings on all three of MG’s complaints.
RBR/TVBR observation: We congratulate these two companies on finding a way to resolve their differences without government intervention, either via the agency or courthouse route. It’s much better for those with vested interests to keep as much control of the outcome as possible, and things have a way of spinning out of control when a third party, especially a government-related third party, gets involved. And it’s cheaper, too.