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post #1 of 4 Old 08-17-2001, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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What if the FCC and Congress were to pass a law allowing the local affiliates to get out of their DTV commitment if they would allow distant DTV locals into their markets via satellite, cable or internet? How many of them, who haven't already invested in DTV, would jump at the chance to save a few bucks and give back their digital spectrum? They could milk their analog signals until they were turned off with a hard deadline in 2010.

I'll bet almost none of them would take that deal, but I'm open to hearing from some broadcasters on a purely speculative level. It seems like so many stations complain that this is being forced upon them with no specific business plan to make back their investment. This would be a chance for them to find a new line of business...


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post #2 of 4 Old 08-19-2001, 01:38 PM
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Well said!
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post #3 of 4 Old 08-19-2001, 02:17 PM
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A quick question...

Does anyone have market penetration information for DBS and cable? The reason I ask...

If the market penetration of DBS & cable were sufficient, why wouldn't/couldn't/shouldn't the networks simply abandon the local affiliates altogether and take their programming directly to DBS and cable? Certainly they could make enough money off of national advertising and DBS/cable fees to make it profitable?

Without knowing the actual numbers to back it up, I would guess the vast majority of non-pay TV that is viewed today originates at the network level. How much "local programming" is there beyond the local news?

This may be heresy in some circles, but I believe the local affiliates have outlived their usefulness. It seems that eliminating them would alleviate a lot of problems for the networks, and the FCC could have their precious spectrum back. (to re-sell to the highest bidder)


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post #4 of 4 Old 08-19-2001, 03:10 PM
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I don't know about forcing them to get out of the broadcasting business entirely in 2010; sounds a little too draconian to me. However, many stations will not be on air with (H)DTV on May 1st, 2002. They will want waivers to delay their digital on air date.

I think the FCC should only grant those waivers on the condition that the local affiliate grant out of market waivers to any and all viewers who want a distant HDTV signal. Quick example of how this might work: the local CBS affiliate for Toledo, OH is KTOL. Suppose that KTOL-DT does not make the federal deadline of May Day, 2002. They go bitching and whining to the FCC for a waiver (along with ~600-800 other local broadcasters).

The FCC could fine them a bunch of money or even take back their digital channel (fat chance). Instead, the FCC says fine, have a 2-3 year reprieve. However, anyone in the greater Toledo area who wants an out of market CBS HDTV feed can get it (assuming CBS still offers such a service over Echostar and other means of distribution).

The local station can make an intelligent business decision. They can pay a good deal of money to update their infrastructure, or they can watch more and more of their most affluent viewers watch a station that gives a damn about picture quality. Viewers are no longer serfs to the local station. What do you think, is this a fair way to give the laggard analog stations a brief reprieve?

Jim in cosmopolitan Shreveport

Let me get this straight, this show is hi-def and 5.1, but my local affiliate makes it crappy NTSC and mono?!

Free over the air HDTV + Tivo HD + Netflix for Blu-ray and streaming = Bliss
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