Media Scene

AT&T U-verse pulls plug on WBTV in contract dispute at NCAA tip-off

Just before the tip-off of the NCAA men’s basketball playoffs, WBTV (Channel 3) vanished Thursday from AT&T U-verse cable in the Charlotte region.

Raycom Media, which owns WBTV and runs 62 other TV stations across the nation, has been unable to come to terms with AT&T on how much the cable company will pay to carry Raycom stations in 23 cities, including Charlotte.

Such contract disputes have become common between station groups, networks and cable providers. They are usually settled within days.

On Jan. 1, a similar dispute kept WSOC (Channel 9) and sister station WAXN (Channel 64) off U-verse and DirecTV for a day before a contract was reached between AT&T and Cox Broadcasting of Atlanta, which owns the two stations.

WBTV remains on the region’s dominant cable system, Spectrum, and is available through other providers.

In addition to games on CBS being carried on Channel 3, NCAA Tournament matches are also being shown on truTV, TNT and TBS and are not affected by the dispute involving AT&T and Raycom.

Among the CBS games jeopardized for AT&T customers are West Virginia-Bucknell, Wisconsin-Virginia, Michigan-Oklahoma State and Kentucky-Northern Kentucky.

Mark Washburn: 704-358-5007, @WashburnChObs