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  1. #1
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    Default BrightHouse vs. WKMG-TV

    my local cable company is at it again:

    Bright House, WKMG trade blame in fee fight
    Hal Boedeker | Sentinel Staff Writer
    February 19, 2008

    The fee battle between Bright House Networks and WKMG-Channel 6 intensified Monday as the cable provider and Central Florida viewers got a look at the CBS affiliate's on-air campaign.

    WKMG aired a news report, an editorial and commercials warning that Bright House customers could lose the popular CBS lineup -- and possibly March Madness -- if the cable company doesn't pay the station a fee.

    "I hear Bright House is planning to pull the plug on CBS and Local 6," a woman said in a WKMG commercial. "Can you believe that? America's No. 1 network -- gone?"

    Bright House countered that WKMG was spreading inaccurate information. The cable company objected to WKMG's threat that Bright House could pull the plug on the station if they can't agree by March 17.

    "We don't want to lose that programming," Bright House spokeswoman Sara Brady said. "It's not our plug to pull."

    Publicity could help

    WKMG General Manager Henry Maldonado predicted that the publicity would boost negotiations, which continued Monday.

    "I think it will help both of us and give us an incentive to wrap it up so it works for both of us and the viewers most of all," he said.

    Bright House was less keen on the publicity.

    "We did not want customers to be alarmed," Brady said. "It looks like WKMG is trying to scare viewers."

    WKMG talked about seeking pennies per subscribers; Bright House said the amount would add up. WKMG said satellite companies such as Dish Network and DirecTV pay the station an undisclosed amount for its signal; Bright House reiterated that it doesn't pay fees to any local broadcaster.

    If WKMG couldn't be seen, viewers would miss out on top-rated programs such as CSI, 60 Minutes and Survivor.

    Many viewers sounded furious or confounded about the standoff. They chose sides or unleashed their fury at both parties. They brought up past grievances with Bright House, such as failing to carry a channel with Orlando Magic games and moving Telemundo affiliate WTMO in the channel lineup. Others wondered about WKMG's strategy.

    Marsh. Jenkins, a Bright House subscriber in Melbourne, said the showdown raises the question: Is WKMG operating in the public interest?

    "WKMG should realize that it has a responsibility to continue to provide local news and weather as well as public-affairs programming via communication channels that are readily accessible to those in the Central Florida market, whether it is over the airways or through Bright House's cable system," Jenkins said. "To argue that WKMG should be paid puts profit over the public interest."

    Donna Romancik, a Bright House subscriber in Melbourne, also questioned WKMG's approach.

    "Savvy viewers will just go online and watch episodes they really want to see," she said. "Local programming will be the product to suffer. Isn't Mr. Maldonado dooming his station to a total blackout? Where is the business sense in that?"

    Readers share opinions

    But another reader posted this comment on the Orlando Sentinel's Web site, supporting the station's position:

    "Unfortunately, it is just a sign of the times. Belts getting tighter and companies are looking for revenue sources, whether you agree with it or not. The timing for WKMG is that their contract with Bright House is up before any of the other local stations are. Bright House gets it for free and resells it. Sure, it's never been done here before, but in the world of property rights and such, would you give something to someone for free and watch them get paid for it?"

    Maldonado stressed that the issue was fairness. That position is pushed by Post-Newsweek Stations, which owns WKMG.

    "We are no different from any other cable station," Maldonado said. "The only difference is people watch us on Bright House tenfold. Guys, be fair. They can say people love to pay for Spike, TNT or Discovery, but the majority of their customers are using Bright House to watch us. I don't know if they make money off us or not. But they are charging my viewers, and they should be fair to us."

    Countered Brady: "His signal travels over the public's airwaves, and that's the big difference. They have always been free. Those airwaves belong to the public, not WKMG."

    As long as the argument continues, Maldonado said he would be a presence on the air in editorials and spots.

    "I'm not a TV celebrity," he said. "I think it's been the philosophy of this company that people should know who runs the store. Whether or not I'm the most efficient communicator, I should be the point person."

    As always, I'm sure there are III sides to this story, but still, BrightHouse and TimeWarner before them seem to be always in the middle of something here in Central Florida. Right now, there are 5 shows that I watch regularly (besides sports, of course) and 2 of them are on CBS. I really hate to jump to DirectTV, but if Brighthouse has one more channel they can't/won't provide me with while providing me with 200 channels of CRAP, I might have to do it.

  2. #2
    PM Goo with your concerns OLO's Avatar
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    07.20.18 @ 03:36 PM
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    Time to get Direct TV.
    ((Just My Two Cents))
    And thats about what its worth.



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