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Why Do Airports Always Play CNN?

Why Do Airports Always Play CNN?

CNN Airport Network is ever present at airports around the United States. But why this channel and no others? 

As Reader’s Digest so astutely observes, CNN is omnipresent in airports. But why? Well, technically, what you’re watching is the CNN Airport Network, not CNNCNN Airport Network caters its content specifically to people waiting in airports. At present, around 59 airports broadcast the network, and that’s the only place it plays.

While they do play content similar to the content that you’ll find on CNN, you won’t find any news about commercial crashes or content that’s not family-friendly. And, not every airport plays the same content. That’s because CNN Airport Network lets airports request content and broadcast their own.

Why? Because CNN Airport Network has a financial relationship with airports. It pays airports to leave the channel on, and even pays some airports for their TVs and “infrastructure” and the right to use “up to six minutes each hour to promote the airport or local attractions” according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. And, while many networks do pay for the right to broadcast (sometimes exclusively) in airports a representative from Minneapolis-Saint Paul International pointed out that, often, CNN Airport Network pays the most.

[Image Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (29)


  1. alangore


    May 23, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    …Because airports are run by Democrats?

  2. sfoeuroflyer

    May 23, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    CNN pays the airports to carry their biased drivel. Time to end it.

  3. got2scuba

    May 23, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    sfoeuroflyer, that is what I understand as well, that CNN has to pay airports to play this propaganda. I would like to know how much they actually pay by airports for this captive audience. I am sure it is based on the number of passengers per day and how many outlets are available.

  4. jjmoore

    May 23, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Fake news CNN – it’s actually comical to watch at the airport.. more of a good source of laughs and entertainment.

  5. Bradhattan

    May 23, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    9 out of 10 bigots like to watch FOX News at home

  6. jjmoore

    May 23, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    @bradhattan Bigots like Omar, Farrakhan, Tlaib, and AOC? The bigots are watching CNN and MSNBC. Mark my words. Don’t forget the homophobes Joe and Mika……..

  7. Irpworks

    May 23, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Bradhatten, your comment seems quite bigoted as you object to those who think differently from you.

  8. Sydneyberlin

    May 23, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    Of course, this article had to become a forum for bigotted Trumpists to have their field day. And of course, as ever so often, the article assumes that there are no airports outside of the United States. Some might also play CNN but certainly not all. Especially in non-English speaking countries.

  9. fotographer

    May 24, 2019 at 3:31 am

    @bradhattan… really what a stupid statement…
    CNN is nothing but a tool for the Dems, but I do call those that watch the channel names…
    The only time I watch MSNBC if when they are showing English football on Saturday mornings once in a while

  10. mark2

    May 24, 2019 at 4:20 am

    We have just been on holiday to Canada (we live in UK) and were subjected to CNN in the Club at hotels although fortunately with the sound turned off.
    What did they fill the time with before Donald Trump? They seem to have an enormous team of pundits and various Democrat politicians to criticise him 24/7.
    There must be a business opportunity for unbiassed news.

  11. Dhamal

    May 24, 2019 at 6:11 am

    To brainwash tired flyer into their deep lies and liberal values.

  12. ksandness

    May 24, 2019 at 7:57 am

    I see the Fox News fans have chimed in. As one who thinks that BOTH Fox and CNN are “drivel,” channels that are more interested in getting people riled up than in delivering straightforward news (and both, by the way, pay businesses to have them), I have to ask why there is ANY TV in airports.

    99% of the people aren’t watching, and the TVs just add to the noise level. If I want to watch TV while waiting at the airport, I take out my tablet and watch one of the TV shows or movies that I have downloaded–using ear buds, so as not to disturb other people.

  13. OUTraveling

    May 24, 2019 at 11:41 am

    See what happens when you try to show network news? Everyone is at each others throats!

    I suggest we permanently lock airport T.V.’s on two channels:

    C-SPAN 3 and continually loops of Book TV.

  14. Long Zhiren

    May 24, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    @OUTraveling. I agree.
    Same situation occurs in hotels. Travelers have had better success in getting hotels to change the channels.
    Contacting airport management on the other hand accomplishes very little, except muting the televisions. Muting CNN has good benefits. It is easier to hear the gate announcements now. The talking heads are still a distraction. Their body language is always chicken-little, communicating everything as more bombshell news which does not help any levels of stress that already exist while traveling.

  15. Swanky Safari

    May 25, 2019 at 6:30 am

    Put on HGTV or the food network- anyone complain about them?

  16. SayItAintSo

    May 25, 2019 at 7:17 am

    It’s not just airports.. It seems hotel lounges around the world play local news AND CNN in English. And chances are 9/10 that the only English language channel you will find on the Tv in your room is.. CNN! What a coincidence.

    Yep, it is biased, but so is FoxNews.. I can’t decide which one is worse, but find both very entertaining LOL

  17. vickeryfolks

    May 25, 2019 at 7:18 am

    I would not mind if they just reported the news but as it is, Cnn just tells us what they think. Since we can all form our own opinion, their opinion is of no interest. They are no smarter than the average person, in fact I seriously question their intelligence everyday.

  18. jrpallante

    May 25, 2019 at 7:55 am

    The abject hatred exhibited towards total strangers based on political affiliation is saddening.

  19. SamirD

    May 25, 2019 at 7:56 am

    I hate news channels. If someone in real life talked down to me the way news reporters do to their audience I’d walk away. Oh, but you can’t in airports. So what do you do? Headphones–really good, sound drowning headphones.

  20. Bear4Asian

    May 25, 2019 at 8:22 am

    OUTravling is the winner here.

  21. wringme

    May 25, 2019 at 9:36 am

    Bad enough it is a constant in the airports. I fly extensively overseas and it is much more a problem in hotels. CNN is generally the only service available in hotels and we, as a nation, are much the worse for it.

  22. CEB

    May 25, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Right on ksandness! Bigotry cuts both ways and runs just as deep on both the left and the right.Enough said.

  23. trvlnman

    May 25, 2019 at 10:25 am

    I remember when CNN used to broadcast news. Now it’s just anti-Trump ranting morning, noon, and night. They used to show CNN in all the pantries in our NYC headquarters but it became too political so now they show CNBC, one of the last unbiased news outlets. Remove CNN from the airports please, it’s just biased noise.

  24. TheBestThereIs

    May 25, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    Because Fox news viewers don’t travel. They spend all their time at home, in the trailer.

  25. RandyN

    May 26, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    All cable news is toxic. CNN is just the least awful of them.

    I had no idea this forum leaned to heavily toward rabid Trump-lovers. You people are why I keep my earbuds in when I fly; I’m just avoiding you.

  26. cebootsw

    May 26, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    OUTraveling…..I agree!

  27. alexmyboy

    May 28, 2019 at 5:01 am

    and FOX news is real news. trump people are so stupid

  28. MiscMel70

    May 28, 2019 at 7:10 am

    Oh good lord. What does it matter? No one pays any attention anyway and things also depend on where you are. Airports, CNN. Hotel concierge floors and lobbies in the south, Fox. So what they’re biased towards THEIR VIEWERS.

    On the rare occasion I do look up at the news at the airport, because it’s customized for airport crowds, it’s rarely political. The article just pointed that out. Anyone who posted here and said they’ve seen anything else is lying. To be honest, it’s seems like the “old” CNN. Just “breaking” news from around the world type background noise. Certainly less annoying than those security message on repeat EVEN THOUGH WE ARE ON THE SUPPOSEDLY SECURE SIDE OF SECURITY.

    And stop being so easily manipulated. The Trump and Clinton’s were friends and I’m not sure they are not still friends privately. They played a game and he won. Why average citizens allow themselves to get dragged into rich peoples political Game of Thrones is nuts.

  29. Gynob001

    May 29, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    Fox viewers are usually in airport bars watching golf or pro wrestling. Fox News anchors usually look and sound angry. Fox patrons also fly their own plane or charter a plane from the hanger. They don’t go through the concourses where poor people and immigrants rob and hurt others. CNN news anchors for FOX viewers are foreigners, African Americans, Indians, Muslims, and women.

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