CRN Digital Talk has enjoyed a long and great relationship with Time Warner Cable. So how and why Time Warner drop CRN?
CRN negotiated in good faith
CRN was led to believe that it was negotiating in the good faith terms outlined in its Time Warner Cable contract. Naturally, it was surprising when TWC’s vice president of programming, Eric Goldberg, called and said they would no longer be broadcasting CRN.
When pressed for an answer, Mr. Goldberg didn’t really provide a reason. But if CRN drummed up enough support, then maybe they’d take the talk radio provider back.
Mike Horn — CRN Digital Talk’s CEO and president — contacted Maureen Lane, Time Warner Cable’s vice president of programming for the west region. At first, she was very pleasant and willing to talk. But Ms. Lane apparently soon began a disturbing habit of skipping conference calls and led CRN on a month-long wild goose chase.
Ms. Lane still had not gotten back to Horn, even as CRN had only hours left as a Time Warner content provider.
Time Warner made it impossible to even discuss a solution
Horn called Eric Goldberg, who claimed CRN was in the wrong, and even called Horn “delusional.” Goldberg then got Ms. Lane on the phone – and she denied any will to negotiate.
The following day, CRN was removed from Time Warner Cable’s channel lineup – with only a single line email delivering its fate. That practice violates Time Warner’s own contract mandating that they must provide written notice in the form of a letter.
Time Warner informed the public of CRN’s removal through inaccurate “programming alerts” and sticking an ad in the Los Angeles Times classified section.
TWC complained about listener complaints
CRN received plenty of angry calls, emails, letters, and other messages from upset Time Warner customers who lost access to CRN. Some even cancelled their service. When people complained to Time Warner, the cable company told them they were negotiating with CRN – who was trying to charge more for our services. Not only is that patently false (and another violation of their contract with CRN) but CRN was, in fact, willing to cut costs for Time Warner.
CRN sent listeners’ complaints to Time Warner’s key officials – and was vehemently told to “not bother anyone.” Eric Goldberg directed Horn and company to send all correspondence to him; when they complied, he asked why he was being sent complaints. Someone commented, “Doesn’t that sound like Time Warner officials don’t want to hear their customers think? Like it’s a chore?”
How CRN increases Time Warner Cable’s value
Because CRN Digital Talk produces quality talk radio, it provides the only television programming people aren’t required to actually see. Time Warner lost favor with visually impaired, senior citizen, and home-bound audiences, who accessed CRN programming through the cable giant. Advocacy groups voiced their displeasure with Time Warner – but the cable giant simply let those voices go unheard.
They also told CRN customers to simply listen to CRN programming on the Internet “where it’s free.” First, not all of CRN’s customers access the Internet. Plus, as a company charging people at least $29.99 a month for online access (and recently added a “modem rental fee”) why would Time Warner put the words “Internet” and “free” together? Does Time Warner give its customers free Internet?
CRN does carry some of its programming online – but its value to cable listeners is immense. CRN provides programming in crystal clear, HD sound. Cable audiences can use their DVRs to record their favorite shows and listen to them on their own schedules. This, in turn, actually increases Time Warner’s value to its owns customers.
CRN tried many times and many ways to resolve this issue. Time Warner left them with precious few options and CRN is now looking at broadcasting on platforms such as Hulu, Roku, and Apple TV. Does Time Warner really want to throw customers away to the Internet? They aren’t the only provider in town — but sometimes act like it.
Listening to the truth
The truth is that CRN belongs on Time Warner, where millions of customers were able to access its programming. CRN wants to be back with Time Warner and is asking your help. A few more voices may finally get them to listen – and that’s what CRN Digital Talk has been about for 30 years.