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ATMC ANNOUNCES CHANNEL LINEUP CHANGES WBTW Being Removed in 2017
by Daphne Yarbrough-Jones
ATMC Cable has announced channel lineup and programming changes which will go into effect at midnight on December 31st. These changes are being made in an effort to lessen cable TV package rate increases brought on by rising network programming costs and changes in local broadcast station network affiliations in the Wilmington television market.
WBTW, the CBS affiliate for the Florence-Myrtle Beach designated market area (DMA), will be replaced by a new CBS affiliate operated by WWAY in the Wilmington DMA. The new CBS station will take the channel slots in the ATMC lineup currently occupied by WBTW (channel 13 and 913 in HD). “It’s unfortunate that we will no longer carry WBTW,” said Jody Heustess, Vice President, Marketing and Customer Service. “We know there are customers in communities along the South Carolina border who look to WBTW for coverage of local news and weather. Unfortunately all of ATMC’s cable TV customers reside within the Wilmington DMA, and network non-duplication and syndication exclusivity protections give the in-market station the exclusive right to broadcast all network programming in their home television market. If ATMC were to continue carriage of WBTW we would be forced to black out all CBS network programming in addition to any syndicated programming also aired.”
Given those circumstances, ATMC made the decision to drop WBTW in order to keep from carrying a channel that would be “in the dark” for the vast majority of the day. Heustess added, “In the end, keeping WBTW wasn’t an option, because we would have had to continue to pay the programming fees associated with the channel. The value we would get would not be worth the investment.”
ATMC customers who live near the South Carolina border may still be able to receive WBTW over-the-air using an antenna or view it online via the WBTW app or website.
In addition to the changes with the local broadcast affiliates, ATMC has made the decision to discontinue carriage of Fox Sports Carolinas, Ovation Network and the Tennis Channel. “Dropping a channel is not something we want to do, but the fees charged by the networks are driving up the costs too fast. In order to keep the rate increases we pass along to our customers as low as possible, we’ve had to make the difficult decision to remove from our system some channels that have high costs or low viewership.” These changes will take effect at midnight on December 31st.
WILM will remain in the ATMC lineup as an independent station and it will continue to carry the WRAL newscast, a variety of syndicated programming, and a host of sporting events.
For more information about upcoming changes to the ATMC channel lineup call 910-754-4311 or visit atmc.com.
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