×

CBS Uses Radio Heft in Time Warner Cable Battle

Outlets give Eye a local edge to make its case to consumers

CBS and Time Warner Cable are waging a public war of words in a retrans dispute that threatens to knock 13 Eye-owned TV stations off TW Cable systems in eight major markets.

Both sides have taken to their own air to make their case to viewers with breathless PSA-style spots warning of a potential shutoff. But CBS is bolstered by another potent weapon in this fight: multiple top-tier radio stations in the three markets — New York, L.A. and Dallas — most affected by the contract wrangle. And those stations have added the spots on heavy rotation, judging from a quick survey of the L.A. dial on Friday morning.

The stations allow CBS to extend the reach of its “blame Time Warner Cable” message in an efficient and highly localized format. The Eye can run the gamut of demographics with its fleet of stations that include heavyweights such as Gotham’s WFAN (Sports), WINS (news), WCBS (oldies) and L.A.’s KNX (news), KRTH (oldies) and KROQ (alternative rock). The news and sports talk outlets in particular would seem to reach the kind of viewers who might be inclined to fire off an angry email or sign an online petition.

CBS has stations in most of the other cities affected by the dispute — a list that includes Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh — but TW Cable is not the dominant cable provider in those markets so the Eye has opted not to do a PR blitz in those areas. CBS owns a total of 126 radio stations, most of them strong outlets in major markets.

Despite the public finger-pointing, the sides were said to still be in negotiations on Friday. CBS’ most recent contract extension with TW Cable expires at 5 p.m. ET on July 24.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers

    Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers From Skipping Fox Ad Breaks

    Fox is hoping to knit together the seconds-long divide between a TV program and the commercials that support it. During ad breaks for a few football broadcasts, tomorrow’s run of the Emmys and Wednesday’s season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” the network will kick off ad sessions with special show promos that display artistic renderings [...]

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

  • ABC Studios Logo

    ABC Studios Head of Alternative Fernando Hernandez Exits

    ABC Studios’ head of alternative Fernando Hernandez has departed from his post at the Disney-owned television studio, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Hernandez’s exit follows an executive shuffling at the top in recent months that has included the departure of Amy Hartwick, ABC Studio’s head [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content