Nexstar Media Group and Charter Communications said they reached an agreement that will create a special feed of local news from Nexstar’s WWLP-TV in Springfield, Mass., for Charter subscribers in nearby Berkshire County, Mass.
Charter removed WWLP from its channel lineup in 2017 and Massachusetts lawmakers had been pushing for it to return. Charter provides Berkshire County subscribers with local TV signals from Albany, N.Y. because the county is technically part of the Albany designated market area.
“WWLP-TV 22 News is prepared to deliver much-needed breaking news and severe weather alerts to the Berkshires at any moment 24-hours a day,” said Tim Busch, president of Nexstar Broadcasting. “Providing high-quality, live local news and content to the communities we serve is core to Nexstar’s mission. We are extremely pleased to be returning WWLP-TV’s News 22 local newscasts and programming to Charter subscribers in Berkshire County.”
The special 24-hour feed will simulcast and then rerun WWLP’s top-rated local newscasts, 37 hours per week overall. The feed will also carry WWLP’s weekly public affairs program In Focus and a lifestyle show Mass Appeal.
“We are pleased to have reached this creative agreement with Nexstar to bring their high-quality, local news programming to our subscribers in the Berkshire communities in a way that will not impact our customers’ bills,” said Tom Montemagno, executive VP for programming acquisition at Charter.
Nexstar said that WWLP has continued to cover news and weather in Berkshire County. That will ramp up with the new agreement in place, with WWLP dedicating a journalist to cover issues affecting the community and expanded coverage of the Massachusetts State Legislature.
“The people of Massachusetts rely on local broadcast television every day. It’s how we get the news that matters to us. It’s how we stay up to date on the information that affects our lives,” said Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.). “That’s why I have been working for nearly three years to bring WWLP back to the Berkshires, and I am proud to announce that we have reached a solution that will give Berkshire County residents what they want: access to Massachusetts news. I thank Nexstar, WWLP’s owner, and Charter for reaching this deal, and I thank Senator [Elizabeth] Warren and Congressman [Richard] Neal for working with me to make this agreement a reality.”
“For nearly three years, I have worked closely with Senator Markey and Senator [Elizabeth] Warren (D-Mass.) to bring Massachusetts based television programming back to the Berkshires and today we have achieved that goal,” added Rep. Richard Neall (D-Mass). “We all strongly believed that Massachusetts residents should be able to view Massachusetts news, weather, emergency alerts and other important programming. With today’s announcement, the people of the Berkshires will once again be able to watch the local NBC affiliate WWLP TV-22 rather than Albany news. This is terrific news for Berkshire County.”