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.
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.
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.
“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