A quick Google news search shows it might be happening other places too.
So seriously, what the fuck? Who is fucking this deal up? CBS or Charter? How can a major fucking city like St. Louis not get CBS with the main cable provider??? Our CBS affiliate has it’s own news program and everything too, and now very few people are gonna be able to watch it, and it’s gonna go to the shitter (I prefer our local NBC news but still).
The local news statement says most people can still get channel 4, but I personally know few people w/o cable, and most have Charter because it’s a decent deal when you bundle it with internet and phone like a lot of people do. More people now are getting cable because of the whole thing happening next year.
I couldn’t find Charter’s official statement but my boss said she saw it and of course it blamed the local CBS station. So I have no idea who is fucking this all up. It’s just not right for a city this size to lose its CBS affiliate. Not like we can get another CBS affiliate from another town - there are no towns around here big enough to have their own CBS station. We get 1 of each around here only.
Just because KMOV says they’ve been trying to deal and Charter is not responding doesn’t mean that’s the case.
We just went through this with the local CBS affiliate and Dish. Turns out the CBS affiliate was wanting Dish to pay more per customer to carry CBS than some of the premium channels charge, and Dish rightfully pointed out how that was ridiculous, based on viewership.
The station tried to tug at the heart strings of loyal viewers, but it backfired, as they protested the affiliate, letting it know of their displeasure.
I would blame the local CBS affiliate. Under FCC rules, they have the choice of “must carry” or “retransmission consent”. Evidently they chose “retransmission consent”, which means that they can negotiate a contract with the cable system that grants the cable system permission to carry their signal. If the cable system doesn’t like the terms of the contract and doesn’t sign it, they have to remove the station from their system. Excessive greed on the part of either or both parties can cause contract negotiations to fail. The CBS affiliate is probably betting that the cable system will cave in to customer pressure and accept the terms offered.
It’s happening in St. Louis, Dallas, Charlotte and Norfok, VA. All the stations are owned by the same corporation (Belo) and all the cable outlets are owned by Charter. CBS is an unfortunate bystander in this fight.
Here’s the deal, the Belo stations want the cable operators to pay for carrying their over-the-air signal. Charter says it’s doing Belo a service by piping the signal into people’s houses. Belo says “the signal has value” to the cable operators, so it’s only fair that they should pay for it. Charter says it’s an over-the-air signal that anyone can get, so it’s not fair to make them pay for simply retransmitting it to people who could get it anyway.
Now here’s where it gets fun. Not only is Channel 4 threatening to deny Charter the right to retransmit their signal, and not only is the station about to switch to digital transmission in February, but they’re also telling viewers that as they convert to a 100% digital signal, viewers will need to remap their digital tuners three times in the next couple of months.
So, as a Charter subscriber I have to choose between keeping Charter and losing Channel 4, putting up an antenna (and converting my 3 analog TVs) to get Channel 4 and the other local stations and dropping my cable service, OR putting up an antenna, converting my TVs, putting an A/B switch on every TV in the house and switching back and forth between cable and Channel 4 – and by the way, remapping each digital tuner individually three times in the next couple of months.
Like Hampshire says, these fights between local stations and cable systems break out every once in awhile. Basically it’s a big game of chicken. Given the situation 440,000 cable TV subscribers in St. Louis will be facing next week, my money’s on Charter.
As to who’s fucking who, I look at it this way. Charter wants to keep the status quo. Belo wants Charter to pay them around $1.6 million each year for the privilege of carrying Channel 4.
I agree, it’s a pissing match. It will resolve itself. The same thing happened with the NBC affiliate when I lived in Charleston, SC. The affiliate would run a crawl telling people to call their cable company and complain.
Thing was, cable companies HAVE to carry the local stations under the must-carry law. So it was the NBC affiliate that was withholding consent and trying to get the cable company to pony up more money by misleading their viewers.
Not sure digital converters cost $3, but if you’ll post a link I’ll happily pick a half dozen (some might wear out). Cable subscribers generally don’t need to buy those fancy high-priced digital boxes mandated by [del]the bought and paid for[/del] our elected officials, but that bandwidth is sold now. And now you are truly and well screwed.
I was under the (mis?)understanding that in return for granting right-of-way and monopoly rights to a cable company, the company usually agreed with the municipality to carry all local broadcast channels plus things like community access channels? This must not be the case…
The FCC “must carry” rule says that IF a local station demands it, the cable system must carry the local station in its basic tier of service, and that neither the cable system nor the station can charge extra for it.
What we have here is that our enterprising local station is waiving its rights under the rule and telling the cable company to either pay up or stop carrying the station.
KMOV is going to lose this battle. And lose it big. Who the hell doesn’t have cable or a satellite dish anymore? They have no bargaining strength at all. And yes, I know there are some poor people without it but KMOV doesn’t give a shit about them.
We went through the same bullshit in the UK when Sky and Virgin couldn’t come to an agreement. We get cable via Virgin so when the deal fell through all the Sky channels disappeared from our screen. I had to endure 18 months of no Simpsons (at least on TV!) until these fucktards finally tired of their dick-waving contest and settled things last month.