The city of Yuma (Arizona) has sent a letter to Charter demanding the cable operator provide a credit to subscribers who have been without two Yuma-based local stations since February 1 due to a fee fight with their owner, Northwest Broadcasting.
The Yuma stations affected are: KSWT-TV, the CBS affiliate in Yuma; and KYMA-TV, the NBC affiliate there. The stations are two of 11 Northwest-owned network affiliates that have been blacked out in the dispute.
Click Amazon: See Today’s Top-Selling TVs!
The Yuma Sun reports that the Yuma assistant city attorney is accusing Charter of violating its city franchise license by failing to give subscribers at least 30 days notice that they could lose the channels.
Click Amazon: Today’s 1-Day-Only Deals!
In addition to the demand for subscriber credits, the city is demanding that Charter pay damages of $864 to the city for every day of the blackout.
Click Amazon: Get up to 40% off Turbo Tax!
“Even if one assumes that Charter’s decision to stop carriage was ‘beyond the control’ == and nothing that Charter has provided suggests that this is the case == there is no excuse for failure to provide notice (to the city) more than 2 hours after carriage stopped,
City attorney Dan White says in the letter.
The Yuma Sun writes that Charter refused to comment on the letter, but did note the cable operator can not carry the channels without their permission, which is correct under the law.
The companies are battling over how much Charter should pay to carry the Northwest station signals.
Northwest CEO Brian Brady says all viewers affected by the blackout should immediately demand a refund from Charter.
“The City of Yuma, Arizona has put Spectrum on notice that it is seeking damages for every day that Spectrum blacks out local channels and is demanding that Spectrum credits Yuma subscribers for dropping the channels without notice. If you don’t get the full refund you deserve, ask the Mayor’s office in your town for help, as the Spectrum subscribers did in Yuma. If that doesn’t work send an email to the FCC and your Congressman. I am heading to Washington, DC next week armed with your stories of how Spectrum treats you. There are 450,000 homes that are affected. If enough of you speak up, they will listen,” Brady says in a notice at station web sites.
The 11 stations are still blacked out on Charter systems are: KSWT-TV, the CBS affiliate in Yuma, Arizona; KYMA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Yuma; KIEM-TV, the NBC affiliate in Eureka, California; KVIQ, the CBS affiliate in Eureka, KAYU-TV, the Fox affiliate in Spokane, Washington; WSYT-TV, the Fox affiliate in Syracuse, New York; WICZ-TV, the Fox affiliate in Binghamton, New York; KMVU-TV, the Fox affiliate in Medford, Oregon; KFFX-TV, the Fox affiliate in Yakima, Washington; KAYU-TV, the Fox affiliate in Spokane, Washington; and KPVI-TV, the NBC affiliate in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
— Phillip Swann
It’s the BROADCASTER that yanked the channels because THEY wanted more money. THEY should pay the fine to the city of Yuma.
Northwest CEO Brian Brady is responsible for this mess with his fee increase demand to carry his stations. He will not disclose to the public how much he wants to charge Charter for carrying his stations. Any price increases will just be passed on to the Charter customers and add to their monthly bill. I live in a rural area too far away to get the stations with an antenna. He says that Charter is charging a $4.00 fee for their Program Guide. I looked my Charter Bill and could not find that fee.
Yuma should rescind municipal franchises for television and internet services and invite competition into the area. Yuma’s present approach (and all municipal governments, for that matter) is short sighted and ignorant of market principles.
Going to see my Mom this week. Helping her move to Direct TV. Bye Bye Charter. That is what all the homes in the market should do
Sure move to Directv, then in 3 months when the stations pull the same scam with Directv, you’ll be locked into a 2 year contract and still won’t have the channels until Directv pays the local affiliates extortion money.
Broadcasters should be ashamed of themselves for charging cable operators the fees they do to carry their (otherwise free) over-the-air signals saturated with commercial and promotional announcements. I applaud someone for standing up for consumers’ rights here. It does put the cable operator in a difficult place, but this issue needs to front-and-center. Retransmission Fees should be illegal (and cable operators should be forced into “must carry”).