Here is the email I sent today and those I sent it to:
FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell
FCC Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy
FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps
FCC Commissioner Kevin J. Martin
FCC Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein
PA Attorny General
WYOU/WBRE General Manager John Dittmeier
WYOU/WBRE Opertaions and Production Director Randy Williams
CBS East Coast Operations Director
Vice President, Director of Engineering at Nexstar Richard Stolpe
Executive Vice President, COO at Nexstar Duane A. Lammers
Senior Vice President, Regional Manager at Nexstar Brian Jones
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to bring to light a situation that is becoming a problem for the residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Our local CBS affiliate, WYOU, and our local NBC affiliate, WBRE, are being controlled by the same entity, Nexstar Broadcasting. This is not the way it is represented on paper. According to research, WYOU is owned by Mission Broadcasting out of Wadsworth, OH. WBRE is owned my Nexstar Broadcasting out of Irving, TX. Nexstar Broadcasting runs the day-to-day operations of WYOU under what is known as a LSA, or local service agreement. The practice of using a local service agreement gives Nexstar a virtual duopoly. They are not only doing so here, but in fourteen separate markets across the nation and counting. The Northeastern Pennsylvania market they control is the largest of their local service agreements, ranking 53rd in the national by broadcasting standards. The practice has lead to many problems, a few of which are documented below.
- The most obvious problem with their current standing is the lack of unique programming. As an example, the morning news and the noon news are simulcast on by stations. This occurs to a different degree with the evening news and 11p.m. news. For those time frames, the order of the news stories is different, but the content is the same. As you can easily derive, the situation is in no way beneficial to the community.
- Second of the list of problems is the visible degradation of the image. The problem is with an issue known as ghosting. An exact copy of the current image is slightly shifted to one side. The result is very distracting and reduces the overall quality of the image. The ghosting is most evident on WYOU, but is also on WBRE. This is a prime example of why allowing on company to have control over two separate stations is not acceptable.
- The list can go on, but I will end with this last example. Beginning in 1996 with the FCC?s approval of the standards for digital television, TV stations had to begin the transition to digital television. Both WYOU and WBRE have made the transition to digital television. That fact is not part of the complaint. The problems lie in the power of their transmission and their decision not to pass the HDTV signals of their parent broadcasters. Both stations broadcast at such low power that it barely reaches outside of the county in which the tower is located. Their viewing area is roughly fifteen counties. Their decision not to pass any HDTV signals is quite inappropriate also. CBS is the leader in HDTV and NBC is right up there with them. To not supply their viewers with the opportunity to view the programming is something that is not well received by the community.
I ask of you to review that situation that Nexstar Broadcasting has become all too comfortable with. The use of local service agreements to benefit customers is can be useful. Nexstar?s use is clearly not benefiting anyone but their own budgets. Please take measures to rectify the situation before the viewer is completely forgotten about.
Thank you for your time,
Jeffrey Williams - Concerned Viewer