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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  • by Mary Baldwin Location: Stockdale Texas on Feb 14, 2009 at 10:53 AM
    The same thing is happening here in my area. Windjammer bought out Time Warner and is now shutting down. They must be affiliated with Directv since they are offering deals here. Here is a link to the area story.
  • by Aline Location: Sandyville on Feb 1, 2009 at 08:52 AM
    I'm in Sandyville, WV, and Windjammer is cutting off all service as of Feb. 17. We've already lost several channels, and don't seem to have any options at all. Hundreds of customers are losing service here, thanks to Windjammer. Our only option is satellite, but with many of us losing our jobs (I was laid off two months ago), we can't afford the investment in the equipment or the increased rates. Charter runs along Rt 21, but won't run their lines another eighth of a mile to my house or any of the other houses out here, and there a many. It's like we don't count.
  • by Brian Location: New Matamoras on Jan 31, 2009 at 05:58 PM
    I feel bad for the people in Newport. Doesn't look like they're going to mess with us in New Mat. As bad as the system is in Newport, you all probably be better off with a dish, and an antenna. Hopefully, something works out, and another company buys the area, and gives it the much needed upgrades it needs. Good luck to you guys.
  • by Angie Location: Newport on Jan 26, 2009 at 09:22 PM
    I am very upset that we are no longer going to be supplied with cable in the Newport, Ohio area. A cable system has been here forever. The New Matamoras and Reno areas have cable. The St. Marys, WV area also has cable. I wish someone could explain to me how we could have cable all the way around us, but the nice community of Newport is no longer able to get it. This is absolutely absurd, and this is so unfair to us. We should have been upgraded like everyone else. My dear grandmother who is in the hospital at the moment is hoping to come home soon and sit in her favorite chair and watch her favorite shows on tv. She does not have a satellite, and I think it would be to complicated for her to operate, and even if she could, she wouldn't be able to get the local news. What are the elderly people in this area suppose to do? This is their entertainment. We no longer will be able to receive any local stations even on the satellite. I hope everyone complains to Windjammer about this!!
  • by Todd Location: Newport on Jan 26, 2009 at 05:45 PM
    Can WTAP sell their station to Direct TV or Dish Network? Maybe now you will be willing to allow local residents the abilty to purchase NBC from them since they will no longer have access thru the required cable system
  • by Pat Location: Friendly Area on Jan 26, 2009 at 02:58 PM
    It is a shame that no one thinks this area is worth suppling cable to. We have seen our share of cable providers over the last 16 years I have lived in this area. Once Time warner took over I thought they would upgrade but I guess not. Why would Windjammer buy then shut it off. Did they not look into it first! Sounds like a shotty outfit anyway! I hate to lose WTAP!
  • by Joe Location: West Virginia on Jan 26, 2009 at 02:37 PM
    What about suddenlink?
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