A multimillion-dollar business dispute has knocked Fox4 off the air for Kansas City area Spectrum customers — just in time for the start of NFL post-season play.
Fox4 WDAF-TV is owned by Tribune Media, which cut off Spectrum’s owner, Charter Communications, as of 5 p.m. Thursday. Spectrum subscribers who tune in to Fox4 see a message that blames Tribune Media for going dark.
The fight means Spectrum subscribers could miss Saturday’s NFC game between the Seattle Seahawks, one of the Super Bowl contenders that beat the Kansas City Chiefs this season, and the Dallas Cowboys.
These disputes have surfaced increasingly as content providers and cable operators renegotiate the terms of their deals. In this case, Charter complains that Tribune Media wants too much money to include Tribune stations on its cable system.
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Each side typically seeks help from viewers to gain a more favorable settlement. Sports and other live broadcasts often play a role in that proxy battle because of their strong appeal to viewers.
At least some consumers see this latest disagreement as a reason to cut the cord.
Spectrum subscribers also could miss the Jan. 12 NFC game when the Los Angeles Rams — another Super Bowl contender that beat the Chiefs this season — host one divisional match, and the Jan. 13 game when the New Orleans Saints host the other NFC divisional match.
Fox4 is scheduled to broadcast both games locally.
The ongoing dispute between Tribune Media and Charter Communications won’t disrupt any local coverage of Chiefs games or the Super Bowl itself, which will air on other networks.