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· Hall Of Fame
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I talked with a Dish CSR tonight, noting that my OTA reception of my local PBS station is especially crummy and that I'd like to somehow qualify to pay for the PBS National Feed again.

The CSR said she'd be happy to request waivers for any other network, but that Dish has no mechanism for getting PBS waivers. According to her, if you qualify for a local PBS station, that's all you can get. If you only want PBS, you can pay $1.50 to get just your PBS local.

Since I don't have any plans to move, physically or otherwise, it appears that I'm stuck with my local station. Can anybody confirm or deny this sad news?
 

· Hall Of Fame
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7,511 Posts
Let's rephrase that - if your local PBS station is available on your DBS provider, you can't get the National PBS feed any longer. OTOH, if you truly qualify for out-of-market network stations (all the networks), you also qualify for PBS National.

At least, that was my understanding of the situation a few months ago. It may have changed since then...
 

· Godfather
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374 Posts
If you look at a waiver app there is no mention of PBS. I am a RV'er and I was not interested in locals but did want the national PBS, numerous call to Dish told me I could not get PBS, so one day I asked the wife to call after being told by the local PBS that I did qualify, before the wife could explain what the local station said the rep said you don't have to explain anything you already qualify and hooked me up.
I think that if you want something you have to keep calling back until you get the rep that will give you what you want to hear.
 

· Hall Of Fame/Supporter
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2,818 Posts
You can go to the web site and plug in your address and it will tell you if you can get national PBS feed. I get the national PBS feed here because the local PBS station is "class A", i.e. a low power repeater out of Dallas. I do not qualify for any major networks on distants.

I think Dish has a master waiver worked out with PBS. If you are not in a given reception area you can get national feed without having to get a waiver from the local station.
 

· Icon
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708 Posts
If you qualify for your local PBS station in your DMA or can receive it OTA, you cannot get National PBS. If you qualify for your local PBS station live within a DMA, but cannot get OTA reception, PBS is $1.50 a mo. If you do not live in a served DMA and cannot get OTA reception, then you qualify to get National PBS free. You can obviously request a waiver for PBS from your local station, and if approved, you will pay $1.50 a mo for it.
 

· Godfather
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318 Posts
OK, here's an interesting PBS story for you:

We live in the SF Bay Area, and although Dish considers it to be a single DMA, for OTA it's really several separate areas, because the hilly geography of the area make it impossible for transmitters in any particular location to reach everyone. So our local PBS station is KTEH in San Jose. There are 3 other PBS stations in the "SF DMA", none of which we can receive acceptably OTA.

Since KTEH is our local PBS, it's the one we've always watched, and the one we send our donations to. But even KTEH doesn't come in too well OTA, so we were subscribing to the national PBS on Dish - until they told us we couldn't, since local PBS is now offered in our DMA. I checked, and KTEH was in this. So OK, fine, bought the extra gear and subscribed to locals, and wonderful, KTEH is there and all is well with the world. Until a few days ago.

KTEH disappeared from the guide, and I just called to find out what happened. They were pulled due to poor signal quality and technical problems. So I said, OK, that's a shame, but since my PBS local is no longer offered, can I get national PBS again? No way. Three other PBS stations are offered in my locals package (never ming that they are not local to me, that's not Dish's fault). So I can't get national PBS because I qualify for locals and there are PBS stations in my locals package.

We don't much care about the network fare, and just want our local PBS station on Dish. Too bad. I might as well drop the locals and go back to trying to get KTEH OTA. Unless maybe DirecTV has it ...

If anyone has a suggestion, please let me know. And please don't tell me that I should just be happy with a different PBS, because they're not all the same, and the others might as well be beamed in from the Ukraine as far as I'm concerned, carrying virtually nothing of local interest to me.

Did I mention I'm looking forward to The Merger?

not.

x
 

· Godfather
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318 Posts
Thanks, that was indeed an informative thread. It's not possible to guess what will happen if The Merger goes through, but it seems there's a slim chance that KTEH might come back via their D* feed.

Aside from that, a central point of this discussion is: who decides whether a station is local or not? In mountainous areas, OTA broadcast distances are very short, and the identification of a station as being in a given DMA or not (or even the very definition of a DMA) may leave some consumers stuck with stuff they don't want (or worse, with nothing). Dish says local PBS is available in my locals package. I say it's not. Dish wins. What's especially ironic is that they would get an extra $1.50/mo if they let me subscribe to national PBS! One has to wonder what principle is operating, since revenue seems not to be it.
 

· Hall Of Fame
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What I find interesting is that PBS doesn't sell advertising, so why do they care if a person received a national PBS?
 

· Hall Of Fame
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3,474 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Local PBS stations also allow businesses to "sponsor" programming, so a broadcast of some kids show will probably have full-video 15-second, uh, sponsorship messages before and after it.

To be fair, many PBS programs mention that they are supported by local stations, which are supported mainly by viewer donations. Unlike commercial stations, which are paid a little by the networks to air their shows, local PBS stations have to pay for their network programming.

Marcus says that you _can_ get a waiver from your local station. How? Is there a form letter somewhere for me to fill in the blanks, print out and snail mail?
 

· DBSTalk E* Spot Beam Guru
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443 Posts
Originally posted by carload
local PBS stations have to pay for their network programming.
That's funny. Here is how it really works. NCE stations pay very little or nothing for programming.

Our little NCE radio station pays nothing, $0, zilch, for our syndicated programming and our WRN network feed. NPR stations and PRI stations pay an annual affiliate fee. Depending on the station's income it is $500 to $2,500 per year and the station gets all the NPR or PRI programming FREE.

NCE TV stations are either PBS, APTV, CPB/Annenburg, or bits and pieces of all three. CPB/Annenburg is 100% FREE and Government provided, APTV has an Exchange Program where corporate underwriting has paid 100% of the costs and the stations may take the programs for FREE. APTV is also the distributor for the BBC programs (these cost the stations money). Travels In Europe, Joy Of Painting, Sewing With Nancy, etc... are APTV series in the Exchange program and stations pay nothing for them. PBS stations pay a small fee for satellite distribution and are given a package of programs. No PBS station actually pays for NOVA, Nature, Mystery, etc... Those come in the basic package that pays for the PBS uplink.

However, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't donate to your local NCE station just because the majority of the programming is provided free. It costs a tremendous amount to transmit the programs. When a station says Nova costs us $130 an episode, that's the cost of putting the program through the stations equiptment and transmitting it. For instance the cost to run our little 12 watt NCE radio station is $25/per hour. So although programs are given to us free the transmission costs are $25/hour, $12.50/30 min, $6.25/15 min etc...
 
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