This just in to my mailbox from Cox OKC:
September 29, 2006
Dear Valued Cox Customer,
As you know, Cox strives to provide you with a wide variety of programming choices, including
a growing number of high definition channels. Unfortunately, due to a decision by Hearst Argyle
Television, the parent company of KOCO (the local ABC affiliate), we may no longer be allowed
to carry the Channel 5 signal on high definition Channel 705. This will not affect continuing
broadcast of the KOCO signal on Channel 8.
The 1992 Cable Act passed by Congress says that local stations must grant permission for a
cable company to carry their local signals, including the regular over-the-air analog signal and
the high definition one. This is normally not a problem, but Hearst Argyle recently insisted that
Cox should begin paying millions of dollars to carry the HD signals for their various local affiliates
in several cities, including KOCO in Oklahoma City. Keep in mind that this is the same signal
carried for free over the airwaves and is free to Cox high definition customers.
The result of this situation would simply be unacceptable - higher costs to us and our subscribers.
We have negotiated with Hearst Argyle for some months concerning this issue, but unless they
extend their permission for us to carry the KOCO HD signal, that permission will expire at
midnight on October 1 and Channel 705 will no longer be part of the Cox HD lineup.
We will continue negotiations with Hearst Argyle, to resolve this matter in the best interests of our
subscribers. Thank you for choosing Cox; we'll keep you updated on this issue, and on our plans
to add new HD channels very soon.
David Bialis, President
It certainly looks as if Hearst-Argyle, who own KOCO, are joining the other dog in the manger, Sinclair Broadcasting, who own many Fox affiliates. If this happens, I am going to buy a TiVo Series3 so I can see the HD programming that Cox can't carry any more.
So that no one misunderstand, I am entirely opposed to the policy of Hearst-Argyle and Sinclair to charge cable companies for their HD feeds. It appears to me to be naked greed, which would result in taking an extra pound of flesh from cable rate payers: you and me.