Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: was Waukegan,Il, now Cookeville, Tn
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I never got a response directly from FOX 4, so I wrote a quick note to their new owner, Journal Broadcasting. Heard back from them within a day. Here's my letter & the response:
Subject: Cable carriage of WFTX Fort Myers.
I sent this Email letter to WFTX 12/7 and have not heard a response:
To Whom It May Concern:
I would like to comment on your statement regarding your refusal to come to an agreement with cable companies to carry your digital signal. Let me preface this by saying that I am a Comcast subscriber in the Chicago area, where Comcast does carry the 4 major networks, plus WB, digital signals. My mother is a Comcast subscriber in Naples & not able to receive FOX HD due to this dispute. As I'm sure you are aware, FOX HD is the only one of the 4 major networks HD stations not carried there.
What I would like to comment on is this quote from your online statement:
Cable operators currently want us to give them this signal for free, while they then turn around and charge their customers a monthly fee to receive their digital tier. This is not good business, and our company has taken a hard line on the issue. Why are operators willing to pay other programming providers such as HGTV, ESPN, A&E and others and are not willing to pay WFTX-TV for a digital programming service that provides NFL, NASCAR, the Super bowl and other highly watched programming? It makes no sense.
This is not a true statement, at least as far as Comcast is concerned. The only additional charge thru Comcast is for the monthly rental of the Digital tuner. Comcast has not placed the network HD channels on a Digital tier. I confirmed this with Comcast this AM. You only need to subscribe to the HD package to receive the HD channels in that package, not the HD versions of the OTA stations. Since they are not receiving additional fees to have your digital channel on their system, why would your company be entitled to any additional monies from them? In my opinion, the only thing you are succeeding in doing by this is restricting people from getting the HD version of your station. That doesn't seem to make very good business sense to me.
I my very interested in hearing your response. Please contact me by return email or by phone.
Since Journal Communications has purchased WFTX, I was wondering if there was a change in philosophy regarding this? As I stated, I live in Northern Illinois and do receive WTMJ 4 digital signal OTA. I have also noticed that WTMJ digital is carried by all of the Time Warner cable systems in Southern Wisconsin. I'm sorry but I haven't been able to research your other digital stations to see if they are carried by the cable systems in each area. I would be interested in hearing where things stand as of now with this issue in Ft Myers.
Thank you for your time in reading this. I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for your note. We are very early in the ownership of WFTX. While I cannot make any guarantees on the station's HD signal, you have correctly noted that WTMJ is on the digital tier in Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin. Furthermore, all of the Journal Broadcast Group stations are offer their HD signals on cable.
That said, negotiations take time. We hope to come to agreement with Comcast in the future.
Thanks again for your note.
Sounds encouraging to me.