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WUTV GM vows again to fix issue after channel freezes on Vikings' winning TD drive

Alan Pergament

The nightmare Super Bowl scenario for Spectrum Cable subscribers remains a possibility after what happened Sunday on Fox affiliate WUTV during the NFC playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints.

As the Vikings’ ran a first-down play from inside the Saints’ 5-yard line in overtime that could have won the game, the picture on my cable screen and screens across Western New York froze.

It was still frozen on second down at my house.

I got the picture back in time to see the winning 4-yard touchdown pass from Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins to Kyle Rudolph in the Vikings’ 26-20 upset victory.

I can't imagine the outrage if a picture freezes or goes blank during a winning Super Bowl drive on Feb. 2 when WUTV carries the game.

My Twitter feed account blew up Sunday during the freeze, with some followers angrier than Buffalo fans were Saturday night during the deification of the Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt during the Bills’ 22-19 playoff loss carried by ABC and ESPN.

My followers reminded me that WUTV General Manager Nick Magnini said a month ago that the frozen and blank picture issue had been fixed. Clearly, it hasn’t been fixed. It is unclear if the issue is WUTV's or Spectrum's problem or a combination of the two.

“Are you kidding me??!!” wrote one NFL fan in an email. “It resulted in me missing the winning play. Tough for a sports fan who invested time watching the game to not see that ending! I called Spectrum who said they had other calls, told me to reboot my box, gave me $15 credit on my bill and apologized. They said they are fixing it. Also find the timing of the blackout/freeze of my screen as very suspicious. Right at the climactic moment! Probably coincidental but conspiracy theories have popped up on lesser issues.”

I don’t suspect any conspiracies.

In a telephone conversation and text exchange, Magnini vowed – again – to get to the bottom of an issue that would be a nightmare for the station and the fans if it happens during Fox’s Super Bowl coverage.

“This is isolated to certain areas and it is very important for us to deliver a flawless performance every day,” wrote Magnini in a text. “I have our local and corporate engineers working on this now.”

Told that there have been complaints across all of Western New York and not just isolated areas, Magnini added: “It is my top priority to resolve this once and for all.”


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