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As local advertising revenues have dried up, the stations have been looking to make up that income through retransmission fees, partially because the stations have to pay the networks for carriage.
This is a fair point. Local stations have to make their money somewhere. I have to think between shrinking ratings and the proliferation of DVRs skipping commercials, it is pretty hard to make enough money with just advertising revenue these days. I am really not opposed to letting stations charge a fee for cable and satellite retransmission, provided the fee is reasonable and allows for a fair profit. But I am opposed like hell to the ability of stations and cable/satellite providers making viewers suffer when they have a dispute. IMO there should be some sort of third party mediation and eventually binding arbitration, one that does not let the station go dark for viewers. It is that reason why I am interested in OTA (when I can get it) or other ways to get the station which will not be blacked out in a carriage dispute.
 

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DISH's breakout is a national rate. It costs the same for locals in NY and LA where there are multiple channels to uplink as it does in smaller markets where there are only five or six channels to carry, That does not show the cost of the locals on a per market basis. We can see what we are paying DISH for the locals but we cannot see what DISH is paying the stations for carriage rights.

The breakout has provided DISH the same benefit Xfinity and other providers have ... the ability to advertise a lower price. In DISH's case it is legal for them to make locals optional. Although they are required to offer carriage to all local stations in all markets, they are not required to force their customers to subscribe to local channels. They are required to sell the locals as a group (can't sell Sinclair separate from Gray separate from Tenga). Due to "lifeline service" laws passed decades ago, cable companies ARE required to force their customers to subscribe to local channels.

Neither cable or satellite are required to accept any carriage deal offered by a station that chooses "consent to carry". The station could request a penny per subscriber per year and could be refused carriage if the cable/satellite company does not want to pay. Based on industry reports it is more likely that most network stations are charging over $1 per month and looking to raise that fee as high as the market will bear. When a carriage agreement cannot be reached or expires carriage ends.

I *HOPE* that stations are not getting paid for DISH customers who opt out but I can see the major conglomerates asking for such a fee. Most stations do not care whether or not their signal reaches the subscribers - they just want to be paid for those subscribers so asking for a fee based on the total number of DISH subscribers in a market instead of the number of local channel subscribers in a market would not surprise me.
I noted just above your post that the price broken out was the subscriber price, not the actual per station costing. I'd think Dish would not offer the locals opt-out option if they still had to pay the stations for those subscribers since there would be no benefit to Dish, just a loss of revenue.
 

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But I am opposed like hell to the ability of stations and cable/satellite providers making viewers suffer when they have a dispute. IMO there should be some sort of third party mediation and eventually binding arbitration, one that does not let the station go dark for viewers. It is that reason why I am interested in OTA (when I can get it) or other ways to get the station which will not be blacked out in a carriage dispute.
A couple of U.S. Reps, Eshoo (D, CA) and Scalise (R, LA) have a bill that they've introduced in Congress just about every year for a long while now, it seems. They're trying to repeal a lot of what went into the 1992 Cable Act. Among other things, it would ensure that stations continued to be carried by MVPDs during contract re-negotiations for up to 60 days, which should significantly reduce black-outs. It would also empower the FCC to force both sides to a biding neutral arbitration process.

The bigger change is that, after 42 months, the bill if enacted would repeal retransmission consent and allow free-market contract negotiations to happen under traditional copyright law. It would also strip government at all levels from being able to regulate cable rates. How that would transform the TV industry, and whether or not it would improve the situation for consumers, I don't know.
 

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In my opinion, they should charge a minimal access fee that would be close to or not cover the cost of retransmission ($1 per month, $10 per year ?) and solicit separate donations not tied to access to cover the expenses not covered by the minimal fee (or not allowed to be covered by the fee). The law allows a user fee. It just restricts how that user fee is spent.

There are other legal issues pending in the case. 17 U.S. Code Section 111 (a) (5) was the key piece of law that Locast was relying on. Fixing their violation of that law doesn't fix any other violations that may have occurred. I do not expect Locast to be able to return to service until ALL of the legal challenges have been settled. (Correcting their violation of 17 U.S. Code Section 111 (a) (5) would not be enough.)

Perhaps the next company to attempt such a service will do better.
Yes, IMO, the bigger question, which the recent ruling did not address, is whether a nonprofit organization can redistribute, without consent, OTA TV signals via a different transmission medium, such as the internet, instead of via OTA, as repeater towers do.
 

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OTA is the only way of receiving a station without worrying about a dispute. Nearly every other reception method requires agreement by the station to be carried, which opens the door to the station refusing to be carried if their demands are not met. Even Locast could be considered a carriage dispute. Locast believe that they met the legal standard for being able to retransmit the station's signals, the stations disagreed.

A complete reform of carriage laws is unlikely (in my opinion). Even more so after the changes last year that set non-expiring carriage rules for distants. The expiration of distant carriage laws became a trigger where Congress looked at other changes while doing the required "change the expiration date" needed to continue distant station. With distants no longer expiring there is no automatic trigger. Something else will be needed to get Congress interested in changing the laws.
 

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The bigger change is that, after 42 months, the bill if enacted would repeal retransmission consent and allow free-market contract negotiations to happen under traditional copyright law. It would also strip government at all levels from being able to regulate cable rates. How that would transform the TV industry, and whether or not it would improve the situation for consumers, I don't know.
No, thank you. free-market rates would leave the door open for station groups to set extortionist level pricing ($5 per station per month anyone?). While there would be no collusion between stations (HA!) I'd expect the "free-market" rate to continue to grow as each station group leverages their exclusive content for just a little bit more.

What I would like to see is a statutory rate combined with "must carry" of all stations. If paying copyright is the issue then let it be paid the same way satellite has been paying for distants and superstations for decades. Set a rate, pay into a fund and let the true copyright holders claim from the fund whether their content is on one of the top rated stations currently charging high rates for carriage or a station that is currently "must carry". The current law discriminates against such small stations that still carry copyrighted content - but their copyright holders do not get any additional compensation for the retransmission via cable/satellite if they are "must carry".

Must Carry and a statutory rate would be better than consumers than any outcome that lets stations choose how much to charge (whether one claims it is market based or not).

Yes, IMO, the bigger question, which the recent ruling did not address, is whether a nonprofit organization can redistribute, without consent, OTA TV signals via a different transmission medium, such as the internet, instead of via OTA, as repeater towers do.
Locast failed at the first hurdle ... they court didn't need to look any further.
 

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Locast failed at the first hurdle ... they court didn't need to look any further.
Obviously. But that doesn't contradict the point I raised. And, depending on whether Locast appeals the decision, that bigger question, regarding the legality of the retransmission of OTA TV via the internet, may get addressed. Without clarity on that issue, I don't see Locast, or likely any other nonprofit, risking trying this concept again.
 

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After Locast shut down, there are tons of ads on places you can get locals. In about all cases, the viewer that was paying $5 a month, suddenly to get their locals from a provider has to buy some package of programming for $50 or more a month, just to get locals? With few or no diginets included. Locast had a nitch that worked, giving the viewer most of the channels in their DMA, including the popular diginets. None of these other services do that! You pay almost what cable/satellite costs just to get locals? There needs some service that just will offer what Locast did, even if they have to pay re-transmission fees. I think many would be satisfied to pay $20 a month to get all locals and popular diginets in their market. It is not $5, but more affordable than these other services. Maybe Locast could come back, looking at a legal venture to offer what they do now for a decent price. Many of us do not get all diginets. I have always hoped some service will open up to offer all of the diginets in a package. One reason I stay with Dish (One of many), is they offer a lot of diginets that I can easily DVR. I have been trying to get Dish to have Decades. One that is nearly impossible to get, as no one offers it. I live in Oregon, and Portland dropped it a couple years ago and since Corporate calls the shots, the locals could not offer it even it they wanted to. There is a real gap in what we can receive, even streaming. All people do not want a bunch of the popular cable channels either. I know people that are very happy with OTA translators which we have 27 of them.
 

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A couple of U.S. Reps, Eshoo (D, CA) and Scalise (R, LA) have a bill that they've introduced in Congress just about every year for a long while now, it seems. They're trying to repeal a lot of what went into the 1992 Cable Act. Among other things, it would ensure that stations continued to be carried by MVPDs during contract re-negotiations for up to 60 days, which should significantly reduce black-outs. It would also empower the FCC to force both sides to a biding neutral arbitration process.

The bigger change is that, after 42 months, the bill if enacted would repeal retransmission consent and allow free-market contract negotiations to happen under traditional copyright law. It would also strip government at all levels from being able to regulate cable rates. How that would transform the TV industry, and whether or not it would improve the situation for consumers, I don't know.
I am good with the first part. The second part scares me. I am not a fan of government overregulation but in this case I think it would be a good thing (since these stations are subject to regulation by the FCC because they receive a portion of the airwaves) to establish reasonable rates a station could charge for retransmission.
 

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The Local station model is archaic and no longer needed. Everyone should boycott providers who continue to bow to
Why are the locals stations so against streaming their signals via the internet, is it because of their contracts with cable and satellite?
It all has to do with advertising contracts. Though, with all the consolidation that has been allowed to happen, every single local station could be owned by one company some day.

Congress is the one to blame, for allowing these companies, who were GIVEN free airwaves to broadcast on, to then charge anyone who tries to re-broadcast that signal how ever much they want. It's all a product of our corrupt, broken political system where those who are supposed to represent us all, only represent those who pay them the most.
 

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Why are the locals stations so against streaming their signals via the internet, is it because of their contracts with cable and satellite?
Stations are streamed via YouTube, DIRECTV Stream and other services that pay them for rights. The streaming without permission thing is the problem.
 

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Why are the locals stations so against streaming their signals via the internet, is it because of their contracts with cable and satellite?
It is largely because the enabling legislation allows stations to opt out of "must carry" provisions, and that allows stations to demand payment for retransmission of their signal through cable and satellite. This gives stations the incentive to want *all* viewers to view their programming through cable or satellite. They provide free OTA at this point mostly because they have to as terms for getting their use of the public airwaves. But they will oppose anything that encourages people to view their programming (other than OTA) in a way that does not involve paid retransmission.

Also -- a lot of the smaller, independent or small network stations are not against this (these are largely the ones that are on must-carry). It is mostly the four major networks, who see their programming (somewhat justifiably) as "worth more" in the marketplace, who are fighting any ability to receive their programming other than through cable or satellite (or grudgingly, OTA). They are not against streaming -- plenty of streaming services include their programming. They are against not being paid, and when the law is ambiguous enough to allow them to put a stop to that, they will.
 

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OTA is the only way of receiving a station without worrying about a dispute.
The problem with limiting free retransmission to ota is out west. Stop the provincial thinking that is typical of the east coast. My dma is 500 miles on a side, there are several others that are larger. You can't simply put up a tall tower with an array of terrestrial antennas to pick up the signals, it's impossible, period. Not just the distance, but the fact we have these things called mountain ranges and volcanos that routinely exceed 10k feet; they make the mountains of east and west Pennsylvania, where along with our mountain and coastal communities cable got its start, look like little bumps in the terrain. It required, back in the day, multiple microwave links to each repeater.

Today, such expensive and maintenance intensive (think about trying to repair a microwave link on a snow covered peak in the middle of winter; I've been there. Not fun) is cheaply replaced by the internet.

Two things: first, the cablecos sponsored Washington state laws decades ago to do two things, prevent public utilities or other entities from constructing broadband networks anywhere, in competition with or where no other providers were, simply banned them outright. Secondly, made it legal to force deed restrictions on communities that made, in direct contravention of federal fcc rules, banning rooftop antennas and satellite dishes.

Both these moves, made way before the technology actually made such things possible (in fact, early 1970's) showed the folks pushing such restrictions (the early cable and telcos) how far ahead they were thinking on how to strangle any competition.

The state laws on public construction of internet systems was recently mostly removed, once the republican controlled senate was voted out (like most states and indeed the federal congress, the senate was controlled by a very thin number, very undemocratic, less than 20% of the actual voters).

When I was living much closer to Seattle and still working, I lived in a 'planned' community in which the land deed prohibited both rooftop antennas and DBS dishes; I was lucky enough to be able to, by the U shape construction of my home and be backed up to a deep ravine, able to hide both my DirecTV and Dish network dishes from any view. But of course could not put up an ota antenna despite being almost 50miles from the towers in downtown Seattle, so until DirecTV began transmitting locals in 2000, I had no local tv. After retirement, I moved some 3 miles down the road and put up tv, scanner, and ham radio antennas, among others.

So, there are now huge plans to construct, mostly by the county public utility districts that have built power, water, and wastewater systems throughout the state since the 1930s, fiber to the home systems. The small slice of the city I moved to 6 years ago, primarily because it was the only place within 30 miles with comcast cable and its own local river dam wich made electric rates half that of when I lived in Seattle, may have internet at half it's current costs in 3+ years. Tmobile already beats it, as does Starlink, but the reliability and upkeep has been excellent.

But now back to those locals, which really are 'locals' in name only, controlled by huge conglomerates east of the Mississippi for the most part. They need to he broken up, just like the Facebooks. When the stations got bought out over the last 20 years, most of the well known reporters and studio folks quit or took early retirement rather tha spew the nonsense their eastern owners required. Station managers tried to keep the 'must run' propaganda pieces to the middle of the night, but they couldn't keep it up forever.

As I pointed out before, once folks realize the reality of the viewership of the 'majors' has really slipped, and the figures they've been fed for years were being made up, even if they had programming folks wanted, it's going to be as hard sell. Everybody wants to point out sports, but really, what kind of percentage does that generate? Pretty thin edge of the wedge, and if push comes to shove, radio with internet generated field stats at 1/100th the cost sounds okay to me.

Every time some new and cheaper means of media consumption hits the rural community I live in, I get excited as all get out, but I'm always brought back to earth by folks living here for years. We got Starlink pretty early this year, but folks still living with dialup or non-Netflix ready dsl kinda shrug, maybe when the price gets cut in half. I'll update this when/if that fiber actually gets built.

In the meantime, it would be nice if the populace got what they were promised 70 years ago.
 

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Stations are streamed via YouTube, DIRECTV Stream and other services that pay them for rights. The streaming without permission thing is the problem.
Correct.

So who is more to blame here, Locast for not wanting to pay retransmission fees or the locals for not wanting to work with and come to an agreement with Locast, was that option ever brought to the table?

Again, you would think the locals would want as many eyeballs watching their stations as possible, especially for those that can't receive OTA signals.

Sorry for stupid questions, but I never used or did any research on Locast.
 

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The problem with limiting free retransmission to ota is out west. Stop the provincial thinking that is typical of the east coast.
Wow ... first impression was already "TL : DR" but if you are going to throw insults that gives another reason to completely ignore the post.

(It seems that you have a lot of issues not related to copyright/retransmission laws.)

In the meantime, it would be nice if the populace got what they were promised 70 years ago.
Who promised what in 1951?
I do not recall anyone promising universal TV coverage to every home in the country regardless of location including guaranteed delivery via means not yet invented 70 years ago.
 

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Again, you would think the locals would want as many eyeballs watching their stations as possible, especially for those that can't receive OTA signals.
Except that when they opt out of must carry and therefore charge for retransmission, they want everyone to watch their station through a provider that is paying them. In reality, they would love it if everyone watched through cable or satellite than by OTA. They have to provide OTA by law, but in reality, they'd rather people use cable.

Notice that you never see PBS joining these lawsuits? Or many other smaller, independent stations?
 

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Are they not allowed to maintain a fund for unexpected loss expenses? And a legal fund? Many non-profits do.
That's most often handled with insurance and it doesn't cost millions a month.

I recommend you address where these millions are going.
 

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Notice that you never see PBS joining these lawsuits? Or many other smaller, independent stations?
PBS stations are non-commercial and cannot profit off of "consent to carry" negotiations. The other non-commercial stations (non-PBS educational, religious, etc) are under the same restrictions. The smaller stations don't have the money to hire lawyers for this fight.
 

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The problem with limiting free retransmission to ota is out west. Stop the provincial thinking that is typical of the east coast. My dma is 500 miles on a side, there are several others that are larger. You can't simply put up a tall tower with an array of terrestrial antennas to pick up the signals, it's impossible, period. Not just the distance, but the fact we have these things called mountain ranges and volcanos that routinely exceed 10k feet; they make the mountains of east and west Pennsylvania, where along with our mountain and coastal communities cable got its start, look like little bumps in the terrain. It required, back in the day, multiple microwave links to each repeater.
For your viewing pleasure, here is a video showing that 80% of the United States population lives in the eastern half of the United States.


The transmitters for the Sacramento stations are located in Walnut Grove, not Sacramento, and are among the highest in the western United States. As for the San Francisco stations, most are located on the Sutro Tower, as the SF Bay Area terrain is a transmission nightmare. As for the DFW area, most are located in Cedar Hill south of Dallas. But, then again, we are talking about the #5 (DFW), #6 (SF) and #20 (Sac) media markets.

When it comes down to the Neilson rankings, the top 50% of the television households are in the top 25 markets. Number one and number two are New York City and Los Angeles respectively, making up 10.9% of the television households. The bottom 10% of television markets start with #116-Springfield-Holyoke (MA) and end with #210 Glendive (MT). While the Salt Lake City market is ranked #30, it covers the entire STATE of Utah, plus portions of western Nevada, southern Idaho, and southwestern Wyoming.... which includes plenty of repeaters to get those 1.1 million television homes.
 
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