Campaign to Protect Rural TV Viewers

Discussion in 'General Satellite Discussion' started by Nick, Aug 10, 2006.

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  1. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

    Apr 23, 2002
    A free market, public policy foundation said it's looking out for rural America by
    taking its concerns to Congress. The group "dedicated to promoting free market
    principles" said Congress should protect the country's rural television viewers by
    encouraging broadcasters and EchoStar to reach a fair and reasonable
    settlement when it comes to distant networks.

    The Frontiers of Freedom Institute urged Congress yesterday to take action to
    safeguard those rural customers who may soon lose their distant network signals
    as a result of the long-running legal dispute between the two entities.

    "Time and again, rural consumers are treated unfairly, especially when it comes to
    their television viewing options," said George Landrith, FoF president. "Now, rural
    Americans who have come to rely on distant network television signals will soon
    be deprived of these signals unless the broadcasters and EchoStar reach a
    reasonable settlement of their disagreement."

    In the past the institute has weighed in on the public policy debate over distant
    network HD signals saying broadcasters are simply not providing the signals
    people need and want, but satellite providers could make HDTV an immediate
    reality for consumers. But now in 2006, FoF is arguing, rural Americans are again
    caught on the wrong side of the digital divide. And Landrith said Congress should
    not allow this to happen.

    "Frontiers of Freedom is especially concerned about those large groups of
    consumers who were granted permission to receive distant network signals
    either by the broadcasters or by Congress," he said "These consumers do not
    deserve to lose their distant network signals because of a legal disagreement
    between the broadcasters and EchoStar." - used with permission
  2. kenglish

    kenglish Icon

    Oct 2, 2004
    Salt Lake...
    And who, exactly, IS this "Frontiers of Freedom Institute"?

    Also, what are they going to "lose"? A distant station that lives in a huge city, and has no clue about the needs of the rural TV viewer? They would be better off with the nearest market's local stations, wouldn't they? Or, have the NYC and LA affiliates started carrying the Podunk Farm Report, and weather bulletins for Kansas?
  3. AllieVi

    AllieVi Hall Of Fame

    Apr 10, 2002
    It's all about choices.

    Except for a very few regulated services (delivery of water, electricity & collection of sewage, for example) competition and choices make sense. Individual customers determine their own needs. Rural viewers may or may not prefer their local stations over what's available from other markets. They should be the ones who decide and their choices should not be artificially limited. Similarly, urbanites may also want to keep in touch with their rural roots.

    The "what's best for you" argument doesn't sit well with most people.
  4. kenglish

    kenglish Icon

    Oct 2, 2004
    Salt Lake...
    But, those are the rules that everyone (networks, stations, program suppliers, cable and satellite) agreed to. The viewers, by not paying the stations and networks directly, are a part of that agreement, by default.

    White Area rules, under SHVA, were set up to allow some kind of network service. They were never meant to be a permanent thing. As L-I-L became feasible, service was possible from the nearby stations, not just a few distant ones. The contracts usually state that it can change, and it has.

    Like the majority of viewers, the white area ones will get the nearest affiliates.

    BTW, Charlie brought this on himself.
  5. juan ellitinez

    juan ellitinez Icon/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

    Jan 31, 2003
    umm not all DMA's have access to ALL networks
  6. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

    Apr 23, 2002
    With due respect to kenglish, the DMA system, established by Nielsen is as outmoded
    as measuring freeway traffic flow with those little rubber hoses. It is nothing more than
    protectionism intended to prevent viewers from having choices, plain and simple.

    It is time for the lapdog FCC to stop sucking the NAB's tit, get a spine and start serving
    all of the American people's interests instead of just broadcasters.

    Cable and satellite tv brought Americans choices and rescued the viewer from the grip
    of the big 3/4 greedy networks and local broadcasters and their formulaic, me-too

    If I want to receive distant nets from ATL, NY, LA or wherever, that should absolutely be
    my right, and my choice, not theirs.
  7. AllieVi

    AllieVi Hall Of Fame

    Apr 10, 2002
    And that's why extraordinary legal actions will be required. The largest affected group (hundreds of millions of potential viewers) is ignored under the current agreements.
  8. BobaBird

    BobaBird EKB Editor

    Mar 30, 2002
    Note that the list of "everyone" does not include viewers who are merely a subject of the rules. Pardon me for not feeling bound to an agreement I am not a party to. This "property" wants a choice, and it doesn't matter whether the property is in a rural or urban setting.
    This alludes to a proposal others have made that I support. If local stations were allowed to sell waivers they wouldn't lose revenue and wouldn't be in danger of going out of business.
  9. zmark

    zmark Legend

    Apr 17, 2005
    Now that's an interesting business model. Why can't local stations sell waivers?
  10. SamC

    SamC Hall Of Fame

    Jan 20, 2003
    In all but the largest 20 markets, I guar-un-tee you that your local Big Four affiliates are, by far, the largest and most profitable corporations in town. None are in danger of "going out of business". Rather, all are super-profitable.

    Extremism of the vein "I should be able to watch NY and LA if I want" is not going to happen, and gets us nowhere.

    The realistic fix is really rather simple:

    - The Supreme Court got it right way back with Fortnightly. OTA TV signals should not be subject to copyright when received by traditional antenna means and simply redistributed locally. All cable systems and DBS should be allowed to retransmit LIL without payment to anyone.

    - DBS should simply be allowed to duplicate cable's offering in any cable served area. Whatever OTA channels it has, DBS has. Simple.

    - In any area where all of the news-doing TV stations are from another state, DBS (and cable) should be allowed to supplement with appropriate in-state stations.

    - In the remaining 4% of the USA that does not have, and will never have due to cost to profit ratios, LIL, a single, time zone appropriate, feed (not a NY or LA station) should be GIVEN by the networks, which will reduce their profits by 0.000000000001%.
  11. Larry Caldwell

    Larry Caldwell Godfather

    Apr 4, 2005
    There are large areas of the West which, due to terrain or low population, will never have local TV service. According to the FCC, I have full network service. In fact, there is no OTA television available at my house. I took heroic measures, erecting a 60' mast with the largest, highest gain antenna I could find, plus a mast mounted signal amplifier. That got me one channel, an NBC affiliate that is not even in my locals package. The FCC claims the transmitter is only 35 miles away, when in fact it is 95 miles away. Zip codes out here are bigger than entire states back east.

    The population is so small that, while the county seat has two television stations, neither of them are network affiliates. My LIL service comes from 80 miles away, and my actual local stations are not a part of that service.

    I was grandfathered on Distant Locals from 1996, back when I could at least sign up for Seattle locals. When they took that away and substituted LA locals, it was a terrible blow. Frankly, Los Angeles television stinks. The East Coast locals were better, but I gladly gave them all up as soon as I could sign up for in-state locals. At least I didn't have to put up with campaign ads from politicians I had never heard of.

    To make up for my inability to time shift to the east coast feed, I bought a DVR. If I don't get home from work until 7:00, I can still watch the 5:00 news. If a show is on too late, I can just catch it the next day.

    No station would lose advertising revenues if I could choose the stations I wanted in my locals pack. I'm not going to drive 80 miles to go shopping. However, I am quite aware that this country is governed 3000 miles from where I live, and nobody in Washington DC gives a rat's ass about my viewing choices.
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