Sunday, April 20, 2014
By Ray Routhier firstname.lastname@example.org
Three members of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation sent a letter Friday to Time Warner Cable urging the company to reverse its decision to drop New England Cable News from its channel lineup.
NECN, a regional network based in Newton, Mass., covers news across New England.
News of NECN being dropped by Time Warner angered viewers in Maine, where Time Warner has more than 300,000 customers. But Friday evening it was not clear if members of Maine’s congressional delegation were planning to protest the move or join the effort of their Massachusetts counterparts.
“Congresswoman Pingree is supportive of keeping it on, but we haven’t done a letter,” said Willy Ritch, spokesman for Democratic 1st District Rep. Chellie Pingree. “We’ve been talking about it in our office, trying to figure out the best role for us.”
When news of NECN being dropped by Time Warner was made public this week, Pingree wrote on her Twitter account that she was “disappointed that TWC is dropping @NECN. It’s a great local news source.”
When asked to comment on Time Warner’s dropping of NECN, the offices of Maine’s U.S. senators, Republican Susan Collins and independent Angus King, replied with a joint statement.
“Our offices are currently discussing what might be done to address the concerns of several constituents in Maine who have contacted Senators King and Collins because they may no longer have access to NECN via cable,” the statement read.
No one from the office of Democratic 2nd District Rep. Mike Michaud was available for comment Friday evening.
The letter sent Friday was from Massachusetts’ U.S. senators, Democrats Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Democratic Rep. Richard Neal, and addressed to Time Warner’s chief executive officer, Glenn A. Britt. In the letter, they said they “strongly support maintaining NECN’s availability” for subscribers in the Berkshires region of the Bay State.
In the letter they said their “concern” stems from the fact that NECN is the only 24-hour televised regional news source available to area residents. They went on to say that while they “understand” Time Warner has many factors to consider, they “urge” the company to reconsider its decision to drop NECN.
A spokesman for Time Warner Cable said Friday evening that the company is willing to listen to pleas like the ones from the Massachusetts delegation but does not plan as of now to revisit the decision.
“We are certainly happy to keep an open line of communications, but we have no plans to reconsider,” said Scott Pryzwansky, public relations director for Time Warner.
The announcement of Time Warner’s decision to drop NECN by the end of December followed a breakdown in contract negotiations between the two. Time Warner pays fees to cable channels, including NECN, for the rights to carry programming.
Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: