As of mid-August, I can't watch the local ABC affiliate TV channel over my satellite dish because they tried to jack up the rates they charge Dish Network for carrying their channel. Never mind that their advertisers pay them by the number of viewers, regardless of whether that's by antenna, cable, or satellite. Dish Network could almost get away with asking KCAU to pay them for the task of handling all the transmission details. Anyway, here's a letter I wrote to KCAU's president:
As you mentioned on your website, I could watch your programming over-the-air for free. While your position regarding Dish Network makes sense on the surface, it falls apart quickly. They are redistributing your signal at no cost to you while you still collect money from advertisers. Frankly, they're doing you a favor by handling your broadcasting. Imagine that you could still get the same advertising revenue without having to pay for transmitters and the associated electricity and personnel. Nice, huh? Since you're not directly paid by viewers regardless of whether they watch by rabbit ears or by satellite dish, you can hardly claim to be losing money with the latter. In the mean time, your viewership is lower by the number who can no longer receive your signal (and you're crazy if you think I'd downgrade from a crystal-clear satellite signal and DVR to a snowy analog antenna). The other local network affiliates must be rubbing their hands together with glee as you throw away your audience. Finally, consider that a five-minute Internet search returns downloadable versions of current programming. While I personally don't (yet) consider that a viable option to local programming, as of today that would be the easiest course for a lot of your viewers who have been cut off. Please allow Dish Network to resume broadcasting your signals at no charge to you so that I can go back to watching "Lost". Thank you. Sincerely, Kirk Strauser
I have no particular feelings for either company, but Dish Network's position in this one case seems by far the most reasonable of the two.