Snowe asks for end of Hearst blackout on TWC


Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said she realizes that Hearst and Time Warner Cable are engaged in a private business negotiation. But she wants them to get it over with.

There is one Hearst  station in Snowe’s state and two more stations in the general vicinity, including WMTW in Portland ME, WMUR in Manchester NH and WCVB in Boston.

The retransmission dispute has followed the usual pattern – TWC says Hearst is asking for an outrageous percentage increase, and Hearst says it is merely seeking what it is getting from about 150 other MVPDs.

According to reports, in a letter to chief execs at each company, Snowe indicated her concern for the estimated 180K viewers of WMTW that are without service while the blackout continues. She wrote, “While I know this dispute is a contractual negotiation between private parties … I strongly encourage both parties to reach a mutually acceptable compromise quickly, so that these customers may be restored their normal access to important local programming.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Not so long ago, it appeared Snowe would be in a position to do something about matters such as this. She seemed to be in line for the top Republican spot on the Senate Commerce Committee. However, she is now headed for the exits at the end of the year.

However, Snowe is still a member of the Committee and its Communications Subcommittee, so she will have a chance to weigh in on this topic at the hearing called by Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) next week.