You hear the term “channel blackout” thrown around a lot, now that retransmission consent fights are becoming more and more common. It seems like every couple weeks, some swath of America sees an ad from either their TV provider or a network warning that a station is at risk and may “go dark” soon.
The thing is, taking a channel down isn’t as simple as just pressing a button. There’s no “TV faucet” that someone just turns off until they’re told to turn it back on again.
When we are contractually forced to “go dark” with a particular series of channels, it’s the end result of thousands of man-hours of planning, by hundreds of TWC employees across the country. We really don’t like doing it. It upsets our customers (understandably) and distracts from all the other things our people have to do to run a TV and broadband network, and these are duties that don’t exactly go away just because of a contract dispute.
My co-blogger Jay Gormley pulled together this video to show exactly what it takes to make a channel “go dark.”: