WOW! adopts new name, leaves conservative network under new ownership

The new owners of the former WOW! cable operations in Columbus took the first steps toward service modification.

WOW! in Columbus adopts a new name, ditches a politically charged network and changes the hardware used for its television service.

The activities of WOW! in Columbus and Cleveland were acquired last year by Atlantic Broadband for $1.125 billion. The deal was finalized on September 1.

Atlantic Broadband is renaming all of its Breezeline operations in an effort to unify its traditional holdings with Columbus and Cleveland services.

“We’re no longer just an East Coast provider, and we’ve long offered much more than broadband, so our corporate identity must evolve with us,” Breezeline chairman Frank van der Post said in a statement. A press release.

“The Breezeline name marks the start of an exciting new era of transforming our business through new growth.”

Atlantic Broadband began transitioning to the Breezeline brand in January and said the former WOW! operations in Columbus and Cleveland will complete the transition to Breezeline by this summer.

In a web post, Breezeline said it will continue to honor and serve WOW! contracts, but provided few details about the changes those customers might see.

For some customers, a big change came on December 31, when Breezeline stopped carrying the conservative Newsmax network when the company’s contract expired. Breezeline said it tried to negotiate a new contract with Newsmax.

“Sometimes, however, we can’t come to an agreement when a channel or station owner charges customers unfairly,” Breezeline said on its website.

“This is the case with Newsmax. … While we were working in good faith to negotiate a new agreement, Newsmax insisted on unreasonable terms and conditions that would have disproportionately increased television costs for all Breezeline customers, including WOW! customers in Cleveland and Columbus.”

Newsmax responded that Breezeline was “a liberal cable operator” who dropped Newsmax for political reasons.

“It’s censorship,” Newsmax reported, while encouraging its viewers to call Breezeline to demand Newmax be reinstated or to cancel their service. “They really don’t want Newsmax giving you a different view.”

Breezeline noted that it offers a wide range of political voices.

“We continue to offer a wide variety of news and information networks across our lineup for you to enjoy, including Fox News Channel and One America News Network,” the company said.

In another change, Breezeline announced that their former WOW! The tv+ cable television service is “temporarily replaced” by a service called UltraTV. WOW! tv+ customers have until April 30 to contact WOW! or Breezeline to replace their cable TV boxes, or lose service. (Customers are asked to call 877-915-9878.)

While UltraTV allows recording, shows recorded on the WOW! The tv+ system will not be backed up, the company said.

Later that year, Breezeline announced that it would introduce Breezeline Stream TV, a cloud-based television service.

Representatives for Breezeline did not respond to a request for details on the television transition or other changes to the services.

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@JimWeiker

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