There is a battle going on in St. Louis between the local CBS affiliate, KMOV, and a cable television provider Charter Communications. Normally, wherever there is Charter-bashing I am there. This time, I have to agree with Charter.
Here is the situation. KMOV has been in negotiations for 2 years on making Charter pay to carry its signal. Now their contract is up and Charter is going to stop carrying them on January 1st. KMOV tries to make their argument on their website. One of their main arguments, what they say isn’t right is this:
What they don’t tell you is they have been taking local programming for free and then charging you. Charter pays practically all cable networks for their signals, networks that are far less popular. But they don’t want to pay for local channels. That’s not right, it’s not fair and Charter knows it.
Here is the thing, and they said it right in that passage, Charter pays for cable networks. Those cable networks were created to fill a niche, and if you wanted to watch them, you had to pay for them. They pay for TBS, TNT, AMC, but not local affiliates, nor should they. The airwaves were given to the networks and in exchange they have certain duties to fulfill (airing local programming, public interest pieces, covering politics). Why should Charter have to pay for something that is available freely over the air with a pair of rabbit ears? People aren’t paying for Charter to watch local programming (well, some people who aren’t in signal range do, but that’s the very, very slim minority and they still receive more channels than the local channels). People pay Charter for those other channels. I think it’s ridiculous for KMOV to make Charter pay for programming that is supposed to be free to the people. KMOV is supposed to be acting in the interest of the public. How is making people pay (which is essentially what they are doing) in the interest of the public? Congress should have never given the airwaves to money-grubbing corporations. They belong to the people.
KMOV also states how Charter is paying for local affiliates in other cities, which I still don’t agree with, but if that’s the only reason they have, then I feel no reason to take their side. I don’t like defending Charter, especially since this will no doubt be a reason for them to increase cable fees, but they are right in this one. While I will be mad that the couple CBS shows I watch on KMOV won’t be available until it’s worked out, I think they have to do what they have to do. No one should have to pay for local affiliates. No matter what.
No matter if you agree or disagree with me, I do encourage you to make your voice heard to both Charter and KMOV.
Charter Communications offices: 314-965-0555
Charter Customer Service: 1-888-GET CHARTER (1-888-438-2427)
Charter E-mail:[email protected]