September 14, 2009

Time Warner Cable realigning stations, drops WTTW out of Chicago

From a reader:
One of the comments made to me by a Time Warner representative on the phone when I complained about our losing Ch 11 WTTW, was this:

"Well, you still have Channel 36 and 10 - and Channel 11 was not that popular."

Sign of the times if you ask me.

When PBS runs Ken Burns' The National Parks, beginning would be nice to think that tons of kids and parents would watch this amazing work, but who knows? They may prefer "Dancing with the Stars" or something else like that, and in so many ways, it's a real shame.

Original Post: Time Warner Cable TV is changing its local lineup of channels on Oct. 13.

The first sign of the new lineup was the loss of WTTW Channel 11, the PBS channel out of Chicago, from local basic and digital TV packages. The change occurred without notice to customers in late August. (Here's a Kenosha News story on the change.)

A WTTW representative said Monday the decision was entirely Time Warner's.

A Time Warner Cable representative said WTTW was dropped because there are already two PBS stations in its Milwaukee-area packages (which include Racine) that duplicate 90 percent of the programming on WTTW. Time Warner is investigating whether the remaining 10 percent can be incorporated Milwaukee Public Television's Channel 10 and Channel 16 lineups.

Time Warner Cable dropped WTTW to make room for another high-definition station, the rep said. A new station will be assigned to the Channel 11 slot, but what station has not been determined.

Time Warner Cable is realigning its stations on Oct. 13 in response to customer demand for more HD stations.

The rep also noted Time Warner Cable carries all four of the Chicago networks (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) for southeastern Wisconsin subscribers. But it's unlikely WTTW is coming back to the lineup.

At least one local resident is disappointed by the change. Here's an email we received:
Something interesting happened to Time-Warner Cable subscribers a few weeks ago, without warning WTTW (PBS channel 11 from Chicago) was gone. There was no warning, no crawl on the bottom of the screen beforehand, no notice in the bills before or after, no response to emails, and not even an answer when I called. They simply did it and won't talk about it. In the place of programming there is a notice to watch PBS out of Milwaukee. Unlike commercial television, PBS stations are radically different. Meanwhile WBBM (CBS Channel 2 from Chicago) which is blacked out most of the time is still there.
For anyone who misses WTTW, you can watch Chicago's PBS for free online at:


  1. we miss is quite abit, there are programs there that are not duplicated.

  2. I am quite disappointed in the removal of WTTW as well. I enjoyed watching the documentaries on Chicago’s history – lakefront, Loop, Chicago River – that will not be duplicated on the Milwaukee version.

    If these shows can be viewed over the web, I may show my displeasure in the most effective method this I have – switch to satellite. I’ve been debating a move for a while, now might be the time.

  3. I also miss Window To The World. I like MKE's public television's history specials and great tv auction but that is the only time I watch it.
    I watch Chicago Tonight all the time. I'm probably going to get WTTW over the air and switch to someone beside Time Warner, been wanting to leave Time Warner for some time now anyway.

    I also prefer the Chicago TV affiliates and their news over Milwaukee's.

  4. Rees Roberts9/14/2009 10:29 PM

    I am so glad I have a TV antenna on the roof. No changes for me. whooo hooooo.

    A few comments on what I have read here in this thread...

    While it is true you can see programming on WTTW's web site I could not find any link which duplicated each of their 4 over the air digital channels in real time. Featured programs of course but it is not a streamed set of channels like you would see either over the air or via cable.

    Also, as a Directv user I can tell you that they do not have Chicago available via Satellite to those in Racine. One would need to provide Directv a home or business address within the Chicago coverage area to get Chicago. Racine isn't one of those areas. If you did provide a Chicago area address then you wouldn't get Milwaukee via Satellite. At least as far as those in the "marketing" business are concerned who control these things. I am sure Dish Satellite TV would be the same.

    We are in a very lucky geographic location to receive as much television as we do. (over 40 digital over-the-air channels)

    To get the most local television from Milwaukee and Chicago all you have to do is put up a television antenna on your roof and you can receive the most over-the-air content in the entire country. No monthly fees either. The only Chicago digital channel I do not get is Channel 2.1

    I would drop Directv Satellite but my wife would miss QVC, the Food Channel etc. The nice thing is if you get a receiver and/or a digital video recorder with a built-in Digital off-the-air tuner, Directv will provide both satellite TV Guides as well as over the air TV guides for both Milwaukee and Chicago (all in one listing). Makes for a really nice integrated system.

    To get such a receiver/dvr visit to purchase the hardware you need. They are one of the few places you can purchase a Directv receiver and/or dvr that can receive over-the-air and Satellite in a single box (model HR-20).

    One of the best kept secrets is you do not need cable or satellite to get TV. Racine used to be covered by tv antennas on roof tops and backyard towers. Then cable came to town and slowly all those antennas came down. If you need to save some money, putting up an antenna will pay for itself if you are currently a cable subscriber. You just won't get programming that only comes from cable or satellite.

    As for Time-Warner Cable dropping WTTW without notice..... crude, very crude.

  5. Most of the time they have an auction going on anyway.

  6. This "news" occurred a couple weeks back and was a shocker. Kids' programming on Ch 11 was great; nighttime viewing superb. We still have Ch10 and 36, but not the same, not quite.

    We complained to Time Warner, and the response was a ho-hum, who cares comment.

    Complained in a letter to WTTW as well.

    Times change, we adapt, with a scowl.

  7. Let me have back channel 11 and allow me to drop some of the programs I now receive. There are 25 channels I never look at. Cost will also go down. Bring back WTTW.

  8. They have a monopoly on CAR 25 here. I cannot watch it if I don't have cable. We should be able to view it online.

    I don't subscribe because they don't allow me to pick out which stations I want in my package. 9 shopping channels. Who would want that?


  10. I've never personally used Time Warner but I know people who have and they don't give rave reviews about it. I had two different cable providers and after feeling like a number and not a well paying customer, I felt it was time for a change. Shorty after saying that, I began working at DISH Network and decided to give satellite a try and it's a decision I don't regret. DISH even carries the WTTW channel for all of the people that lost it. DISH has ranked #1 in customer satisfactipon amongst all TV and satellite providers and there is a reason for that. I can honestly say that I love DISH and I'll never leave!