One of the leading TV and internet providers in the country, Charter Communications recently revealed their plans to drop WWLP-22, which is the NBC affiliate in Springfield. Reports indicate that this television station will be removed from 3 Berkshire cable systems, which serve about 16 counties in the area.
The officials from Charter confirmed that the station would be dropped from the systems, which serve Stockbridge, Sheffield, Richmond, Pittsfield, Lenox, Lee, Great Barrington, Clarksburg, Cheshire, Adams, North Adams, and Williamstown on April 17, 2017. In addition to that, the officials also confirmed that WWLP-22 would be dropped off from the systems that serve West Stockbridge, Lanesborough, and Hinsdale on April 24, 2017.
In a recent statement, the Northeast Director of Communications Andrew Russell of Charter Communications stated that the station is being dropped due to the fact that it is an “out of market station with duplicative network programming.” Russel further said that, “Customers will continue to have access to their favorite network programming via the in-market station, WNYT, which is available in HD and SD.”
State Rep. William ‘Smitty’ Pignatelli, D-Lenox, stated that Charter Communications’ choice to terminate the NBC affiliate in Springfield will hurt Berkshires, as it will cut off them from the rest of the state.
“We went through this 20 years ago when I was a selectman and we lost Channel 3 in Hartford, and Channel 5 in Boston, which we were able to preserve with blackout times. Now, we lose Channel 22 which has a full-time reporter at the Statehouse. That was the last connection Berkshire residents had outside the county,” Pignatelli said.
“I think it’s all about money,” he further added. “I wish our (federal) legislative delegation would take a hard look at the coverage areas. I don’t have a problem being in the Albany market, but once again we’re losing our identity in Massachusetts. We’re connected to New York all the time.”
The fastest internet provider, Charter had earlier announced that they are planning to drop WWLP station in the Berkshires by the end of March. They also published a legal notice in the Berkshire Eagle to notify customers of this decision. However, the telecom giant then made a statement, in which they claimed that the notice was issued “inadvertently.”
Pignatelli added, “The negotiations have less to do in my opinion with the out of area designation and more to do with money. We have one less Massachusetts channel in our lineup but the cable rates are going to go up.”