Fox Sports Carolinas now says that it was to blame for commercials that were aired while the puck was in play Saturday during the hockey game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers, which the Flyers won in overtime.
Viewers believe that ads broke into the action twice — once near the end of the second period — though none of the goals was pre-empted.
"It was an issue at our master control," says Kate Hart, a spokeswoman for Fox Sports Carolinas. "It was not Time Warner’s fault. ... We’re trying not to point fingers at anybody.
We’re sorry it happened, and we’re working to make sure it won’t happen again."
But TWC representatives were sensitive Monday to the impression that the cable company was indeed being blamed for the inadvertent commercial breaks. Because it had not heard of other systems having the same problems, FS Carolinas initially believed the problem was caused at Time Warner's end, probably by a malfunction in the automated equipment that inserts commercials.
TWC had insisted from the start that it had received the cue from the network — it comes as a tone — that it was time for a commercial break.
"We had no choice or else there would be a big tone on the air," TWC's Melissa Buscher said Monday.
Also, Phil Elkins, a viewer from Charleston, S.C., put the kabosh on the notion that the problem had appeared only on Time Warner Cable. He e-mailed today to say he watched the game on FS Carolinas via Comcast Cable and saw the same problem.
"I assumed it was an isolated incident down here because the break I was watching was filled solely with local Charleston ads," he wrote.
Though FS Carolinas didn't elaborate on the problem beyond saying it was a "master control" issue, the fact that another cable system had the same problem may mean that the commercial cue was sent inadvertently.
Anyone who sees a problem like that in the future can let Fox Sports Carolinas know by sending an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.