Northwest Broadcasting CEO Calls Out Charter’s Rutledge

Brady urges subscribers to contact cable exec amid blackout

The CEO of Northwest Broadcasting, whose stations are blacked out on Charter Communication systems, is urging Charter subscribers to let Tom Rutledge, cable company’s CEO, know how they feel about the situation.

In a blog post, Northwest CEO Brian Brady said Charter did not negotiate with the broadcaster, made up conversations concerning potential offers and ultimately deprived viewers of watching the Super Bowl while, he assumed, Rutledge "was most likely sitting in a luxury box in Minneapolis."

Brady also told viewers the blackout is happening because Rutledge "doesn’t care about and has no respect for you."

"He only cares that he can use you as one more weapon in negotiating with our company while you continue to pay for the substandard service most of you have described to me," Brady said in the blog, adding that Rutledge’s "recent $98M bonus dwarfs the total size of our company."

Rutledge's total 2016 compensation was $98.5 million, including salary and option awards.

Charter has not responded to requests for comment.

UPDATE: A Charter spokesperson declined to comment on the content of the specific blog post, but the company responded to the impasses in a statement: “Northwest’s fee increase demand of over 75% is outrageous, especially given that their programming is available free over the air and online. For more information, Spectrum customers can visit"

A source familiar with the negotiations noted that Northwest impasses with Verizon and Cable One last year also resulted in stations going dark, and said the broadcaster is asking significantly more than Charter is paying other stations for the same programming.