Viewers attempting to watch WESH-TV Channel 2 on Bright House Networks on Tuesday morning saw another NBC affiliate instead as talks between the Orlando station and the cable provider failed to reach a new agreement.
The cable provider instead aired a non-Florida feed from WBRE-TV, which covers news in northeastern Pennsylvania as well as parts of New York and New Jersey.
The carriage agreement that allowed WESH to broadcast local coverage expired at 11:59 p.m. Monday, just weeks before the start of the Olympics.
"Hearst Television has chosen to black out their signals from our customers rather than continue negotiations, despite Hearst Television’s CEO David Barrett acknowledging just two weeks ago in a congressional hearing that broadcaster blackouts are unfair to consumers," Bright House spokesman Donald Forbes said.
A carriage agreement involves any fees or conditions negotiated between the television station or the cable provider. The Federal Communications Commission, the federal agency that provides oversight for broadcasting companies such as WESH, is not allowed to participate in discussions involving transmissions agreements between cable providers and television stations.
"We cannot predict if or when discussions with Bright House will resume or if or when WESH/WKCF's programming will be restored on Bright House systems," TV station officials said in a statement.