Here is a reponse I received from WSYT. Local answer was expected, but long winded position piece from Sinclair was not....I don't fully understand the issue here, the other locals are carried on TWC. My answer to Sinclair is simply "Cost of doing business" Either provide or customers will take their business elsewhere. Too Simple?
""""" We expect to be transmitting a HD signal sometime in 2005. As for TW Cable, below is information from our corporate office that addresses this.
I can assure you that our lack of HDTV (high definition television) presence on cable is not an oversight. As explained below, the reason for this is quite simple -- the cable companies have unfairly refused to negotiate with our stations(s) for the right to re-transmit the digital signal (which includes our HDTV programming). We have asked the cable companies to negotiate, but by and large they state a wish not to.
In many ways, your cable company is no different than a store. It buys products at wholesale and then resells them to consumers at a higher price in order to make a profit. In other words, just like a grocery store buys food and then resells it to its customers, cable companies buy television programming and resell it to their subscribers. Inexplicably, however, the cable companies do not think they should have to negotiate to acquire content (HDTV in this case) broadcast on local broadcast television stations.
<>The cable companies' position is very surprising given that the model in which they pay to acquire the right to sell television programming is well established. The cable companies routinely pay to carry the signals of cable networks, such as ESPN, CNN, MTV and yes, even Animal Planet. They do this, but refuse to negotiate (or pay) for the programming of local television stations, even though the programming on local television stations generally attracts far larger audiences than does the programming on the cable networks. <>
In many cases, the cable subscribers (you) ARE being asked to pay for the local digital HDTV service they pass on to you (which in this case is our over-the-air content). That happens when:
the consumer is charged extra to have the more expensive digital cable service package as a prerequisite to have local broadcast HDTV made available
the cable company states that you must rent a box from them to be able to receive that HDTV programming
The cable companies claim that they should not have to negotiate (or pay) for local broadcast television stations because the mere act of carrying the stations, and thus making the signal more accessible to cable subscribers, is consideration enough. The absurdity of such a claim is clear as soon as one stops to consider the standard practice within the cable industry of paying cable only networks for their signal. After all, if carriage of a local broadcast signal provides sufficient consideration to the local television station, carriage alone would certainly be sufficient consideration for the cable networks (which rely exclusively on cable carriage to reach their viewers) such as HGTV and Nickelodeon. The cable companies' position is no different than a grocery store refusing to pay Kellogg's for boxes of Fruit Loops, on the theory that just being on the shelf where consumers can buy the cereal should be payment enough. <>
The cable companies also like to claim that their subscribers will not pay for local channels because they do not really care if they receive local stations via cable since they can already receive them free over-the-air. This simply is not true, as evidenced by the complaints cable companies routinely receive if they do not carry a local broadcast station. Further evidence has been provided by the large number of people who signed up for satellite service, such as DirecTV and Dish Network, and abandoned cable service, only after satellite began offering carriage of local channels. In addition, the vast majority of satellite subscribers pay either $5.00 or $6.00 per month simply to receive their local channels via satellite. As Television Week, a major industry publication recently noted, the addition of local stations to satellite removed one of the most compelling attributes cable has had over satellite. <>
In addition, the cable companies use the carriage of local television stations' digital signals as a way to retain existing subscribers and attract new ones. They use their carriage of these signals (such compelling HDTV programming as the Super Bowl, MLB, the NCAA men's basketball tournament and a whole lot more!) as a way to entice analog subscribers to switch to higher priced digital service. They use their carriage of HDTV digital broadcasts of local stations to differentiate themselves from their competitor, satellite, which currently does not have the requisite bandwidth capacity to carry these signals. <>
Cable companies benefit when they carry local broadcast channels in the form of more subscribers and higher profits. HDTV is a "driver" to their digital tier offering. A portion of the fees their subscribers (you) pay each and every month is to compensate the cable companies for delivering their local broadcast channels. Fundamental fairness dictates that the cable companies should negotiate to pay the broadcasters (our stations) for the signals they are reselling.
Tell your cable provider that you would like them to negotiate with Sinclair if you/they really want the HDTV of our stations in your market.
It's that simple.
Mark A. Aitken Director, Advanced Technology
Sinclair Broadcast Group"""""""