Comcast subscribers in Ocean City may have noticed something temporarily missing from their cable lineups earlier this week.
For a short time Monday, CBS and NBC stations in Baltimore, and the Fox station in DC were not accessible.
“Some of our customers today in Ocean City briefly lost access to out-of-market stations WBAL, WJZ and WTTG,” said Kristie Fox, the Comcast Beltway Region vice president of communications.
She explained that officials were assessing out-of-market channels and due to a system error in notifying some customers of the proposed change. The channels were restored 36 hours later.
Fox said she did not know exactly how long the stations had been missing.
From one of the stations, Dan Joerres, the president and general manager of WBAL-TV, said via email when asked about the interruption that he was aware of “Comcast’s business decision to cease carriage of WBAL-TV in Ocean City and the surrounding areas.” He added that the station’s content is always available through online applications.
Fox did not directly respond to that comment, but said the following:
"As part of assessing carriage of out-of-market stations amidst the changing business environment, CBS and NBC in Baltimore and FOX (DC) stations were scheduled to no longer be carried in Ocean City, but due to a system error in notifying some of its customers of this proposed change, service was fully restored and no additional changes are planned at this time."
If a change occurs to the cable lineup, Fox said customers will be notified “well in advance.”
She also explained that it is not typical for local cable lineups to include out-of-market stations, which is how the Baltimore and DC channels are classified, and out-of-market stations are largely duplicative of the in-market affiliates’ content.
She added that the in-market stations — which include WMDT and WBOC out of Salisbury — were accessible during the “brief interruption” of out-of-market stations.