KMOV and Charter Communications

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]

KMOV Contact Form

5 replies
  1. Bob
    Bob says:

    I disagree 100%. For one charter is one of the worst cable distributers in this country. Traveling with the military I have lived in many states and use many service providers and rank Charter at the bottom.

    It would be a different story if Charter didn’t roll in a service charge to the customer so they can provide local channels, bu they do. Basically Charter is saying “We are going to charge the people for service, but we want to keep all of the profit, not share it with the people actually supplying the product.”

    Funny that Charter pays other local stations here in STL and elswhere to utilize their services, but refuses to pay KMOV.

    Personnaly I hope Charter continues to refuse KMOV’s offers and then does the same with other networks. The best thing that could happen here in STL would be for Charter to shoot themself in the foot and be pushed out by all of the other mopre quality providers in the area.

  2. shep
    shep says:

    Whether or not Charter provides a crappy service isn’t the point here. Believe me, I know they are crap, I’ve written about them in the past.

    The point is that KMOV is NOT a cable network so no one should have to pay for programming. What KMOV is saying is that they want more money. Advertising and paid programming are no longer enough for them. They want to start charging people to watch programming that should be freely available. The government gave the airwaves to the networks (instead of keeping it for the people) and the networks make billions of dollars each year off ad-supported programming.

    Do you have records that show that Charter pays for other local stations in St. Louis? I’ve yet to find any documentation that states that. The point is that no one, satellite, u-verse, cable, should not have to pay for local affiliate programming.

    Also, Bob, if you’d like to comment further, please use a real email address because your comment was caught in the spam filter and I just happened to catch it in time.

  3. Kathy G
    Kathy G says:

    Thanks for laying the whole issue out in such a clear manner. I vaguely heard about this in the past few days, but since I’m not a Charter customer I didn’t pay much attention.

  4. schnick
    schnick says:

    It’s just corporate greed. KMOV should be ashamed of themselves. I would not like to mis the Super Bowl Game, or March Madness. KMOV is asking for 1.6 million dollars a year from charter for free TV. Not sure if charter has all the commerial rights or if they air all KMOV comericals. Does anyone know?

  5. The Moderator
    The Moderator says:

    Schnick: Of course Charter places its own ads on KMOV. At least they do out here in St. Charles county. Call Charter Media ( I did a couple of times, trying to find out their policy on channel ad placement ) and they will tell you that depending on the package purchased, you can run your commercials on the local affiliates without having to pay the station directly. I always thought that was a little hinky, myself.

    I’m dropping $57.00/month for channels 1-99 and a digital converter so I can watch the local government access channel, C-Span, C-Span 2, and a couple of the expanded basic package channels that went “digital only”. It’s a racket and Charter knows it, but I need my Ninja Warrior.

    Oh, and Jefferson City really helped out a lot when it eliminated local licensing requirements for service providers. Yeah, thanks Jefferson City! Thanks to them I get to pay an additional $5.00 a month for that little set-top box just so I can pick up those “Digital Only” channels. The hitch? With that box, my signal has gotten WORSE because of the digital signal compression, and now I have to have an A-B switch to record one program and watch another. Thanks Charter!

    Maybe I should really look into Dish Network instead of just threatening Charter with it.

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