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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, April 19, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Journal Broadcast and Time Warner have reached an agreement, ending a 58-day blockout. (PHOTO: shutterstock.com )

WTMJ-TV returns to Time Warner Cable


The multi-day block out of Journal Broadcast stations came to an end Friday as WTMJ-TV Ch. 4, the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee, was back on Time Warner Cable.

However, when the signal came back, it was on Channel 2. The HD feed returned to 1004. Customers in the Kenosha, Plymouth and Racine area will find WTMJ on Ch. 83 for now.

Time Warner sold the Channel 4 position on its lineup to the Game Show Network during the 58-day outage.

"(We are) very happy we're back on cable, and pleased that we are being fairly compensated for our programming," Journal Broadcast Group vice president and WTMJ-TV GM Steve Wexler said.

The block out started after talks over retransmission rights stalled. Journal stations have not been available to Time Warner Cable Subscribers since July 25. The recently inked deal also covers Journal stations in Green Bay, Palm Springs, Calif., and Omaha, Neb.

The deal didn't return the Green Bay stations WGBA-TV NBC 26, and WACY-TV back to its original guide positions either. WGBA, which was on the dial – if you can call it that – on 7, but is 13 for most of the market, 10 in Marinette and 14 in Cleveland, Wis.

WACY is now on 83 in Green Bay.

"We appreciate our customers' patience and loyalty throughout the dispute," Andrew Rosenberg, senior vice president of content acquisition for Time Warner Cable, said in a statement.

"As in all of our negotiations, we aim to hold down programming costs and retain our ability to deliver a great video experience for our customers. We are glad that we were able to achieve both."

Even though I would love to find out the financial terms that both sides agreed to, I doubt they will ever be disclosed. In fact, as talks are ongoing, it is usually part of a deal that neither side will disclose the bottom line. Even when volleys are sent in public from Journal Broadcast and Time Warner, neither would offer an exact amount.

As part of talking points, Time Warner said that the Journal was asking for a 200 percent increase. Journal, in the meantime, only stated they were seeking pennies per subscriber.

This block out wasn't the longest in Time Warner's past, however, it was the longest we've ever seen in the Milwaukee TV market. Last year, when Hearst was in talks with Time Warner, WISN-TV Ch. 12 was off the cable provider's lineup for a week.

As both sides move forward, WTMJ-TV and the other stations in the area are planning for the smaller October sweeps period. And, both Time Warner and Journal Broadcast are affected by the outcome of the nation-wide November sweeps period when advertising rates are determined for throughout the holidays and to May of next year.

To follow along in all the channel moves in your area, find guide information from Time Warner here.

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