Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stop Local Stations from Becoming "Pay-TV"

Based on the recent news that NBC is to start charging its local affiliates for network shows and that the local stations are planning to charge cable and satellite providers as much as 200% more for carrying their signals, I wrote the following letter to Senator Barbara Boxer who is on the Senate Commerce Committee:
Beginning last November I wrote a series of blogs that nobody read on the radical changes occurring in the TV industry. Basically I pointed out that the local broadcast TV industry in 2008 is exactly where the radio industry was in 1948.

The only difference is that we have such a myriad of federal regulations protecting local TV stations to the detriment of the public that they may not adapt effectively until it's too late and we, the public, have lost any chance at meaningful local TV.

It now appears that their primary attempt to adapt is to collect higher fees (as much as 200% higher) from cable and satellite carriers which will be passed on to us, the viewing public. In effect, they are attempting through a back door to become "pay TV" since fewer than 20% of homes are without cable or satellite services.

And with NBC announcing they will be charging the locals for network programming, it could be said that the networks are also becoming "pay TV" through the back door.

It's time for the Senate Commerce Committee to hold hearings on this attempt to turn broadcast television into "pay TV."