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Second Town Takes Action Against Charter In Fee Fight

Jackson, Wyoming joins Yuma, Arizona.

Jackson, Wyoming has become the second town to take action against Charter due to the cable operator’s five-week-old fee fight with Northwest Broadcasting.

Charter lost 11 Northwest-owned network affiliates on February 1 when the two companies could not agree on a new carriage pact. The companies are blaming each other for the impasse, and also can’t agree on which one actually first pulled the signals.

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The Jackson town council last night voted unanimously to direct its staff to send a letter to Charter, charging a violation of its franchise agreement, and federal law, reports the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

The Jackson panel claims Charter is in violation of both because it did not inform subscribers 30 days in advance that they may lose the Northwest stations. Charter issued a public notice regarding the Northwest blackout after it began.

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The NBC affiliate in Idaho Falls, Idaho, which is owned by Northwest, serves the Jackson market.

The other Northwest stations affected by the dispute 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; and KAYU-TV, the Fox affiliate in Spokane, Washington.

The city of Yuma (Arizona) last month sent a letter to Charter demanding the cable operator provide a credit to subscribers who have been without two Yuma-based, Northwest local stations since due to the fee fight.

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.

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“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,
Yuma 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. (Charter has also not commented on the Jackson letter.)

The companies are battling over how much Charter should pay to carry the Northwest station signals.

— Phillip Swann

About TV Answer Man (1098 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

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