Some WTAP Viewers May Lose Cable Service

Time Warner Cable customers in the Newport, Ohio and the Friendly, West Virginia areas may soon lose their cable company, again.

Those systems were purchased by Windjammer Communications the first of this year.

Now, the new owners say they may shut down those systems altogether in the next few weeks.

In a registered letter received today by WTAP, Windjammer says that “due to costs associated with the Digital TV transition and other factors, the systems will cease all operations no later than February 17.”

Windjammer serves about 200 households in the Newport area and another 100 households in the Friendly, West Virginia area.

A company representative told WTAP today that Windjammer will try to keep the systems operating until someone can be found to operate them. But he said no one has expressed an interest in taking over those systems yet.

Again, this only affects about 300 Windjammer Cable customers in the Newport, Ohio, and Friendly, West Virginia, areas. No other cable or over-the-air customers are affected.


(Additional info for web)

The purchase of these two near-by cable systems was part of a large-scale purchase by the Florida-based Windjammer. In all, the firm acquired about 145 cable systems in January, in mostly smaller, rural areas, says Tim Evard, executive Vice President of Windjammer.

Prior to Jan. 1, Evard says Windjammer operated about 60 cable systems all across the U.S., mostly on military bases. An approximate number of subscribers on those 60 systems would be hard to give, Evard said, due to the large number of people flowing in and out of those bases in recent months.

Of the 145 new systems it acquired in January, Evard says Windjammer will cease operating about 40% of them. That would mean that Windjammer only plans to continue operating about 80 of those systems on the longer-term.

Many TV stations, including WTAP, will shut off their analog transmitters on Feb. 17, the deadline set nearly two years ago by the FCC. In recent weeks, there have been discussions about delaying that deadline. But most stations, including WTAP, which are ready to make the transition to digital, plan to end their analog transmissions on that day.

When individual stations stop sending out analog signals, that’s when Windjammer will stop carrying those individual stations, Evard said, rather than investing in new digital equipment.

“Even though the number of people served by Windjammer is small in comparison to the entire Mid-Ohio Valley, we hate for anyone to lose their cable service, since TV is a main source of news, weather and emergency information,” said WTAP Vice-President and General Manager, Roger Sheppard. “We hope that Windjammer and local parties can find a way to continue serving the people who would be greatly inconvenienced by this loss of service.”

If you’d like to contact Windjammer about this prospective loss of service, here is the company’s contact information:

Windjammer Communications LLC
4400 PGA Boulevard
Suite 902
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
Phone: 561-775-1208
FAX: 561-775-7877

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