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KCRG in an apparent battle with DirecTV over HD


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23 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Balestrom

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 06:07 PM

I want to make this brief as possible. After much frustration with KCRG and their noted responses to the lack of HD with DirecTV, I sent an email to the station manager.

Outlined in the email was the frustration of many people to whom I have communicated. Of those frustrated with this issue, I noted in general family, friends and members of online communities. I did mention DBS as an example of a community where there were frustrated members. As a result, the station manager wanted me to let you in this community who has expressed frustation to know something:

Here is the his response in full.



Jason,

Thanks for your email. I certainly understand your frustrations with not being able to view KCRG’s digital signal on DirecTV. Let me tell you that I am equally frustrated.

Please let me take a minute to set the record straight. Your comment that “it all leads back to KCRG” is flawed because you have ignored the facts. Fact, KCRG has requested the same amount of compensation that DirecTV pays many other broadcasters. We know this to be true because we have hired an attorney who has represented hundreds of other stations in markets of all sizes. DirecTV does not like the fact but the reality is our attorney sees almost every retransmission deal between DirecTV and local stations. Fact, KCRG is a locally owned, single station operation. Fact, all of our local competitors are owned by out of state companies who station holdings range from several stations to over 60 stations. We believe that KCRG deserves equal treatment regardless of our size. Fact, KCRG has more viewers than any of the other stations but we are not asking for additional compensation.

Who have you talked with at DirecTV? You say that, “they have time and again placed the blame on your shoulders”.

Can you provide me with the names of your contacts at DirecTV? Why should we be blamed for simply asking for equal treatment. Have you asked them why they would not give the #1 station in the market the same consideration? Have you asked them what they are paying others? Have they provided you any answers or simply blamed us?

I will tell you that we continue to be open to reaching an agreement. Late last year we heard from DirecTV customers that they were being told that DirecTV could not add the KCRG digital signal because they were out of capacity for additional channels in the Cedar Rapids market. I have been assured by DirecTV that this is not the case. Earlier this month I told DirecTV that we are more than willing to bypass the attorney’s and talk directly. No response and I have not heard back from them. The ball is in their court.

Those are the facts, we are not hiding anything. I would also remind you and all of the other DBS Talk members of one additional fact. This same situation occurred when DirecTV first offered their “local into local” analog service. After refusing our first compensation request they launched without the KCRG signal. It took almost a year but eventually they agreed to our original request. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I will now look forward to your feedback.


Regards,

John xxxxxxx (I am not sure if its okay to give out last names, but he is the station manager for KCRG).



I will be leaving on business tomorrow. However, I look forward to your feedback before a send a full response to the station manager.

Thanks!

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#2 OFFLINE   leww37334

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 06:22 PM

think antenna (those of use without ANY HD stations from directv have to use them)
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#3 OFFLINE   Balestrom

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 06:35 PM

think antenna (those of use without ANY HD stations from directv have to use them)


I appreciate your response, but I am not sure how it lends itself to this topic.

BTW- I have an AM21 with an antenna. It still does not help when my favorite shows on KCRG go into blocks on my DVR play back due to bad reception during recording times.

#4 OFFLINE   lwilli201

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 08:07 PM

If the KCRG lawyers indicated that they will publish their findings about what other stations pay, I think they would have a deal in minutes. (It they could legally do that). I really do not think that Directv would want that information plastered all over the place. Swanni would have a field day with that information. :lol:

It is also interesting that anyone can get that information from other stations. I would think that Directv would have a nondisclosure provision in the contracts.
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#5 OFFLINE   bnwrx

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 08:27 AM

I understand your frustration. Here in Colorado Springs, our locals went HD in the fall. All except KRDO, the ABC affiliate. We do get their SD channel but not the HD feed. I too sent emails to the station manager at KRDO and was told a similar story. They have a contract with Directv fro the SD signal but no HD contract. He told me Directv has not really negotiated with them for those rights. All other local channels are showing the prime time and sports stuff in HD, so that is nice, however KRDO is the only local that does their local news in HD and Directv customers don't receive it. I guess I simply don't understand the holdup!!??

#6 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 11:40 AM

The holdup is that ALL of the local stations want more money this year. While the stations like to talk about "pennies per subscriber", they are often talking about 50+% price increases. Imagine what YOUR DirecTV bill would look like if every channel got such an increase. DirecTV is already having to raise prices a couple of bucks this year, but if they didn't hold out for reasonable prices, that rate increase would have to be a lot bigger.

Local stations are trying to find someone to pay their costs for their digital and HD conversions, which ARE expensive. But no provider can just accept these huge demands without a corresponding price increase to their subscribers.

#7 OFFLINE   dornitram

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 02:47 PM

Both DirecTv and KCRG are in this to make money. They both have a number in mind what they want and neither one is budging. If the Super Bowl would have been on ABC this year, I think we would be sitting here with KCRG in HD, but that's not the case so they both just sit there.

#8 OFFLINE   Balestrom

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 10:47 AM

Well, I just got back from a business trip. I am still communicating with the station manager. I have to give him credit, he is continuing the dialog.

Before I left he sent me an email...

Jason,
I will look forward to hearing more from you. Hopefully you can answer some of the questions I asked of you.
Who knows, perhaps this issue will become moot prior to you return.
Regards,

John



Obviously, the issue did not become moot... but it was an interesting response.

I still plan to begin emailing local advertisers after the digital conversion, letting them know that I will not be visiting their establishments as a result of KCRG's inability to come to a resolution with DirecTV. And I intend cc those I know who want to contribute to this, in my emails to the advertisers.

I have let the station manager know that I intend to do so. Hopefully, we can continue the dialog, however. We will see. I don't know if any of this will do any good.

#9 OFFLINE   Darkscream

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 09:41 PM

Interesting to note that KCRG is included on the E* HD locals that start Feb 18 for Cedar Rapids. Make of that what you will.

#10 OFFLINE   NFLnut

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 12:46 PM

All of my locals have been on DirecTV for years, and I STILL prefer the picture from the antenna. Plus, no rain fade, and with the HR20/21 it gives me access to all of the additional "free" channels. Although my PBS local is on the sat, I can only get their HD signal via antenna (although the only time I ever watch PBS is when they have a good music show on).

A good antenna is cheap. I think you might find that you like the picture better too. I almost NEVER watch the locals via DirecTV.
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#11 OFFLINE   Darkscream

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 01:30 PM

Alas there are areas in Iowa where - due to river bluffs and the like - where you are not able to get any OTA signal whatsoever from any channel.

#12 OFFLINE   Balestrom

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 06:06 PM

As I have stated, I have been communicating with the station manager from KCRG over the past couple weeks. I was thrilled to read his latest email....

Jason,

I thought you would like to know that we were able to come to an agreement this afternoon with DirecTV on retransmission rights to the KCRG digital signal.

When I asked them how long it would take to launch I was told that it could take up to 3 weeks, which I find absurd, but that’s how dealing with them is.

Perhaps you could pass this information along to the other DBS users.

Regards,

John

#13 OFFLINE   scott72

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 08:19 PM

Alas there are areas in Iowa where - due to river bluffs and the like - where you are not able to get any OTA signal whatsoever from any channel.


Exactly. This was my case before I switched to the LaCrosse market and now receive all my locals in HD. When I did have the CR market, I was able to get the DNS feed from New York for the HD feed since I can't go OTA. This KCRG vs. D* has been going on forever it seems.

#14 OFFLINE   scott72

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 08:20 PM

As I have stated, I have been communicating with the station manager from KCRG over the past couple weeks. I was thrilled to read his latest email....

Jason,

I thought you would like to know that we were able to come to an agreement this afternoon with DirecTV on retransmission rights to the KCRG digital signal.

When I asked them how long it would take to launch I was told that it could take up to 3 weeks, which I find absurd, but that’s how dealing with them is.

Perhaps you could pass this information along to the other DBS users.

Regards,

John


Wow congrats! Like I said this has been going on forever and will be great news for the CR DMA..

#15 OFFLINE   dodge boy

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 08:28 AM

I understand your frustration. Here in Colorado Springs, our locals went HD in the fall. All except KRDO, the ABC affiliate. We do get their SD channel but not the HD feed. I too sent emails to the station manager at KRDO and was told a similar story. They have a contract with Directv fro the SD signal but no HD contract. He told me Directv has not really negotiated with them for those rights. All other local channels are showing the prime time and sports stuff in HD, so that is nice, however KRDO is the only local that does their local news in HD and Directv customers don't receive it. I guess I simply don't understand the holdup!!??


My local NBC and ABC are HD from DirecTv however my FOX ans CBS are not. I receive them with an OTA antenna and they are broadcast in HD. D* is in the process of filling for waivers so I can get CBS and FOX DNS in HD. I know this won't help your cause but I think if we sent Waivers to our locals that aren't carried in HD on the Sats. maybe it would get them moving in that direction faster.
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#16 OFFLINE   scott72

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:06 PM

My local NBC and ABC are HD from DirecTv however my FOX ans CBS are not. I receive them with an OTA antenna and they are broadcast in HD. D* is in the process of filling for waivers so I can get CBS and FOX DNS in HD. I know this won't help your cause but I think if we sent Waivers to our locals that aren't carried in HD on the Sats. maybe it would get them moving in that direction faster.


You won't be granted waivers if you're already getting them via OTA..

#17 OFFLINE   ericmylad

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:16 PM

As I have stated, I have been communicating with the station manager from KCRG over the past couple weeks. I was thrilled to read his latest email....

Jason,

I thought you would like to know that we were able to come to an agreement this afternoon with DirecTV on retransmission rights to the KCRG digital signal.

When I asked them how long it would take to launch I was told that it could take up to 3 weeks, which I find absurd, but that’s how dealing with them is.

Perhaps you could pass this information along to the other DBS users.

Regards,

John



Awesome news!!!! Finally.:)

I sent John a quick thank you this morning. Here's his response:


Eric,
It is true. We are now trying to get them to “flip the switch” as soon as possible so you and others can view Sunday’s Academy Awards in HD.

Regards,
John XXXXXX

#18 OFFLINE   Doug Brott

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:33 PM

Well, good to hear that there was some success here .. the timing might not be perfect for everyone involved, but a "soon" is significantly better than a "one day" or "never" response.

Congrats Guys.
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#19 OFFLINE   NASCR2424

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:03 PM

congratulations!! at least knowing an agreement has been reached in this is a big step forward.

#20 OFFLINE   heisman6183

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 03:29 PM

Interesting info. I'll look for two channel 9s to show up in my guide. Now if I could find out why they decided to delay their digital switch (not that it's a big deal, but up until a few days ago they were set to switch today with all the other local stations).




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