TV/radio briefs: Charter drops Univision, CNN producer files suit over Trump travel ban, Entercom/CBS Radio merger

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This was posted Friday, February 2, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Charter/Time Warner dropped Spanish language network Univision off its services yesterday over a carriage fee dispute.

Charter operates in many major markets including metro Atlanta. Forbes estimates this move will affect 2.5 million Hispanic subscribers nationwide.

Univision is under immense pressure to increase its earnings as it continues to prepare for its IPO. In addition to advertising, cable carriage fees have become an increasingly important revenue generator for TV companies, potentially adding millions of dollars to their coffers.

These disputes between subscriber based operations and TV networks pop up every so often. WSB-TV was blacked out for less than a day earlier this year for DirecTV and AT&T customers before the two sides came to agreement.

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A CNN producer filed a suit against the federal government over an immigration order that caused him to be detained at Hartsfield-Jackson on Sunday.

Mohammed Tawfeeq is an Iraqi national who has been a permanent legal resident of the United States since 2013.

Tawfeeq frequently travels to the Middle East as part of his reporting duties, the lawsuit states.

The suits states that applying this executive order to lawful permanent residents or green card holders returning after a brief trip abroad violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and the U.S. Constitution.

CNN in a statement supported their employee’s rights: “This is a basic request to clarify and assert his rights under the law. We support him in this effort and hope its resolved quickly.”

More details here. 

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Philadelphia-based Entercom Communications announced a merger with CBS Radio today.

This will create the second-largest radio company behind only IHeartMedia and exceed the size of Atlanta-based Cumulus Media. The combined company will be in 23 of the 25 largest markets.

CBS Radio in Atlanta operates leading R&B/hip hop station V-103, talk station 1080/WAOK-AM and sports talk station 92.9/The Game. Entercom owns Star 94.1. There will be no conflict. It’s too early to say how the operations will be merged locally.

CBS has been trying to spin off its radio division for the past year. Philadelphia’s Entercom is one of the financially healthiest radio companies in America. Since it took over Star 94.1 in 2015, it has been able to grow the station’s ratings and revenues.

Leslie Moonves, chairman and CEO of CBS, in a statement said: “Entercom is a superbly run company, and together with CBS Radio’s powerful brands and remarkable people, we are creating an organization that will be even better positioned to succeed in this rapidly evolving media landscape.”

David J. Field, Entercom president and CEO, will stay on, a sign that Entercom management will have primary control once the merger closes.

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