Why is the show I want to watch blacked out?
Broadcasters buy exclusive programming rights in their territory and the FCC requires Blue Ridge to enforce these rights. Blackouts occur when a local broadcast affiliate exercises its exclusive rights over that program in your area, requiring it to be blacked out on other channels. Blackouts typically occur for syndicated programming or sporting events. The broadcaster’s goal is to draw the audience to in-market stations that serve your local area and protect local advertisers. When a show is blacked out, you may see a message on the screen regarding the blackout, or the channel may air alternate programming.
For example, if WQMY owns the rights to air Judge Judy in your area, that show may be blacked out on another available station, even if the other station airs the program at a different time. Your onscreen guide will not reflect this, but you will see a blackout message when tuning to that channel.
In regards to sporting events, a channel carrying a national broadcast of the game (ESPN, NFL Network, etc.) may be blacked out in favor of a major network affiliate in your area (ABC, NBC, CBS, etc.) or a regional sports network (NBC Sports Philadelphia, etc.) Typically the national channel will then show alternate programming.
The game is blacked out, but I don’t get the channel that’s airing it!
If the regional sports network or local channel airing the game is available within your area, but Blue Ridge does not carry that local market station, the game will still be blacked out on the national broadcast. For example, if you live within the market area for the MSG Network, but Blue Ridge does not carry those channels on your line-up, you will not be able to view the game if it is simulcast on a national channel, such as the NBA Network.