Nearly 50,000 Frontier Cable Customers in Sarasota and Manatee Counties can no longer watch vital local news and weather on ABC 7 (WWSB-TV). At 4pm on Friday, Frontier Communications abruptly notified us that they opted to delete “Your Local Station” from its lineup, and instead carry an out of town station after the cable provider walked away from retransmission consent negotiations.
WWSB-TV and other stations owned by our parent company Gray Television, Inc. regularly negotiate terms of service with cable providers. We’re assured talks were cordial, and that Gray had extended the terms of the existing agreement, no-strings-attached, to ensure Suncoast Viewers wouldn’t miss news and entertainment programming. That offer was not accepted, and our signal is now blocked for Frontier Customers.
“The service interruption came with zero warning to our viewers,” said Jeff Benninghoff, WWSB Vice-President & General Manager.
“I am absolutely stunned. In all my 27 years in local media, I have never even heard of a cable operator just dropping a station when it was offered a no-strings-attached extension to work things out. Frontier had nothing to lose but instead decided to drop ABC 7 anyway. By dropping us, it’s an attack on local media denying you the local news, and life-saving weather forecasting you have come to depend on. At this point, any Frontier customers should switch to Comcast Xfinity or Spectrum if they want to continue watching ABC 7,” Benninghoff said.
To return WWSB-TV to your Frontier Cable line-up, call Frontier Communications at (800) 921-8101 to voice your support. Viewers in Sarasota County can watch ABC 7 on Comcast Xfinity at (800) 934-6489; Manatee County residents can view ABC 7 on Spectrum by calling (844) 348-2194
Viewers can stay connected with the station by downloading the ABC 7 News and First Alert Weather Apps to their phone and mobile device.