TV Retrans Wars Hit Cleveland – Fox 8 and DirecTV

UPDATE 8/31/12: Both DirecTV and WJW Fox 8 owner Local TV LLC announced an agreement today, with no signal interruption…

UPDATE 8/30/12 10:20 AM: Fox 8 has put up a more extensive site on their side of the dispute – keepwjw.com. Note that there’s not one mention of trying to pick up the station’s currently anemic over-air signal as an alternative…

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The ongoing wars over TV retransmission consent are hitting Cleveland.

Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 has posted a note on its Fox8.com titled “Important Message for DirecTV Customers From Fox 8”, warning customers of the largest satellite service of an impending disruption of the station’s signal…as soon as Saturday.

If WJW Fox 8 does not reach an agreement with DirectTV by 12:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 1, by law, DirecTV cannot carry this station on its system.

DirecTV and WJW Fox 8 are in negotiations for fair compensation for the programming we provide.

The Cleveland Fox affiliate is asking its viewers to call DirecTV, and to repost the note on Facebook and Twitter.

This one’s a bit more complex than most retransmission consent agreements.

For one, last we checked, former WJW owner Fox is actually handling the retransmission consent negotiations for the station now owned by Local TV LLC.

For another, we note that WJW’s current RF channel 8 on-air signal is hard to pick up in many parts of the market. That’s why the station filed to return to RF channel 31, its pre-transition digital home, but that move is still stuck in the FCC, thanks to a dispute by RF channel 30 occupant WBNX/55, the Winston Broadcasting-owned CW affiliate for the Cleveland market.

(The dispute is fun to read about, if frustrating for the folks on Dick Goddard Way. Search “WBNX” in our search box for some samples.)

Stations often direct viewers on the disputed platform to pick up the free, widely available over-air signal instead, but that’ll be frustrating for many in-market viewers. For that matter, for some viewers to the east in the Cleveland market, it may be easier to pick up WKBN-TV/27.2, a standard definition simulcast of “Fox Youngstown”.

We presume WJW will, if there’s not a last minute deal, direct viewers to Dish Network, Time Warner Cable or AT&T U-verse, or other cable operators in the market. (Dish, by the way, reached an agreement with Vindicator NBC affiliate WFMJ/21 Youngstown right before the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.)

WJW has its own high profile sporting event after the September 1st deadline: The Cleveland Browns regular season opener with the Philadelphia Eagles, September 9th, will be on Fox…a result of it being a home game with an NFC away team.

We’ll see if that’ll force an agreement before kickoff…

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2 Responses to TV Retrans Wars Hit Cleveland – Fox 8 and DirecTV

  1. Stephen says:

    The Erie Fox station (WFXP) has a great OTA signal in northern Ashtabula county.

  2. Yekimi says:

    I guess the retrans war is over, it looks like they’ve reached an agreement

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