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Monday, November 28, 2011

Channel Changes Effective January 1 2012

Over the last several weeks the Glasgow High School football team has represented our community very well on the gridiron, and they certainly continue to make us all proud. During that same time, the Glasgow EPB team has been representing our community on a different sort of game field and we are ready to announce the results.

Our work has been with the broadcast television stations (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CW) located in Bowling Green, Nashville, and Louisville. Like the football games played by our Glasgow Scotties, the games with the broadcast stations have been hard nosed and hard fought. However, unlike the football games which have sensible rules, these games are designed by the broadcasters, for the benefit of their stockholders, and implemented by legislators and regulators who feel the need to keep the broadcasters, and their huge staff of lobbyists, happy. That means that a small, locally owned cable system like Glasgow EPB, and the folks in a community like Glasgow are getting the short end of the stick.

When our local football teams hit the field, they know what we all want from them. They know that we would like for them to play well, not get hurt, honor the rules, and, if possible, score more points than all of their opponents. When the EPB hits the field of battle with the broadcasters, we know what the community wants from us as well. We know that our customers want as many local broadcast stations as possible on their cable system. We know that some of our customers are oriented to Louisville stations, some to Bowling Green stations, and still others to Nashville stations, and that we need to maintain some of these. Finally, we know that, if possible, you want all of this for very little cost. These have been our objectives in these negotiations.

As the EPB team sought to negotiate new “retransmission consent” agreements with the broadcasters so that we can carry their programming for the next three years, we struggled to accomplish your wants. A few of the broadcasters seemed interested in being a partner to the EPB, and the people of Glasgow, and were reasonable in their demands for payment. However, the majority were totally unreasonable in their demands, and some of those broadcasters will cease to be on our cable system on January 1, 2012, simply because the cost would be too much for our customers to pay.

In this time of economic strife, when so many are unemployed and under other economic pressure, it has been eye-opening and quite informative of the actual attitude of these businesses when they ask for 100 - 400% rate increases for their programming when none of us have increased our revenue by even a small fraction of that amount.

Though we feel the whole game is unfair and that the field is clearly tilted to the advantage of the broadcasters, we still must play the game in order to live up to the expectations of our customers. As a result of the decisions made on your behalf the following changes to our cable lineup will take effect on January 1, 2012, both channels to be dropped and a few to be added:

Channel Currently Jan. 1, 2012 Programming
Ch. 09 WSMV-NBC EPB 24/7 Weather
Ch. 16 WDRB-FOX AntennaTV substituted in place of FOX programming
Ch. 17 WBKI-CW WBNA-ION
Ch. 25 WHAS-ABC Wazoo Sports substituted in place of ABC programming
Ch. 42 EPB 24/7 Weather WNPT-Nashville Public Television
Ch. 43 WLKY-CBS Create TV sub-stream of WKYU
Ch. 128 YouTOO Social TV RetroTV sub-stream of WBNA
Ch. 143 New Channel My Family TV sub-stream of WMYO
Ch. 176 Ion Life (WNPX) The Light sub-stream of WBNA

So, to make it totally clear, we are dropping WSMV, WLKY, WBKI, and WNPX. We are keeping everything else, but during the network programming hours we will replace the FOX and ABC programming with new content on WDRB and WHAS respectively. These changes will impact our HD tier some as well. Since we are dropping WLKY, channel 540 on our HD tier will disappear. Since we are dropping WSMV, channel 541 will disappear. Finally, since we are dropping the ABC portion of WHAS, channel 542 will disappear on the HD tier. Channel 516 will still be there but the FOX programming will come via WBKO instead of WDRB. The primary HD network feeds will continue to be 513 for ABC, 514 for NBC, 515 for CBS, and 516 for FOX.

Taken together, these stations, and the increased rate demands they are putting on the people of Glasgow, will take an additional $45,000 per year out of our local economy, even though we are dropping some of the broadcast channels we carry now. If we had chosen to keep all of our present broadcast channels and if we had paid the rates they asked for those channels, the increased cost to Glasgow folks would have been over $250,000 per year more than we are paying today. That is why we are dropping some stations as we have been told by our customers to eliminate duplicate channels, refuse to bow to the unreasonable broadcasters’ demands, and help hold the rates as low as possible for our community. When implementing our recent rate increase we tried to plan for the broadcasters’ demands, and it will not be necessary to increase the rates you pay at this time.

We fought hard for the small victories we achieved on the retransmission consent battlefront, and will continue to do so to serve our customers. This same battle will loom before us next year for some of the major satellite channels and again in 2014 for the broadcasters. This process seems to be without end. If you are tired of being at the mercy of these large companies, contact our legislators and demand that the retransmission consent laws be addressed prior to that time so that the consumers they were elected to serve will be protected, rather than the highly compensated lobbyists and network executives they currently serve.

Look for these changes to take effect on New Year’s Eve. The new channel lineup will be there waiting for you when you awaken on New Year’s Day 2012.

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