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Cable Company Says FOX Forced Them to Drop Affiliate From South Mississippi Lineup

In ABC, Affiliate Issues, Alabama, Biloxi-Gulfport, CBS, Florida, FOX, LIN Media, Mississippi, Mobile-Pensacola on April 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm

After Tuesday, April 3, Cable One subscribers in Mobile, Ala., will no longer receive WALA-TV on their lineup, but it’s not the cable company’s fault.

That’s what a representative said in a release sent to the Sun Herald newspaper Friday.

In the release, Melany Stroupe with Cable One said the decision was actually made by parent company FOX Broadcasting.

“We are disappointed to no longer be able to carry WALA, especially because some of our customers enjoy the station’s local news,” Stroupe said.

The planned move will affect Cable One subscribers in Biloxi, Ocean Springs and Pascagoula, Miss.

But why would FOX do that? Stroupe states the FOX Network required WALA’s parent company, Lin Media, to refuse to allow Cable One to continue to carry the Mobile-Pensacola FOX affiliate.

The article also addresses concerns that the move could be a slippery slope affecting another Gulf Coast television station:

The move doesn’t bode well for viewers concerned CBS might make a similar decision when WLOX-TV begins carrying CBS programming [on a digital subchannel].

There’s concern [in response to a CBS affiliate coming into the Biloxi-Gulfport market] the CBS network will drop Mobile’s WKRG or New Orleans’ WWL from Cable One and deny the Coast the options of local news and vital weather information, especially during hurricane threats, on those channels.

At this point, CBS has not done that, Stroupe said. But they still could at any time.

As South TV News reported last month, Biloxi ABC affiliate WLOX-TV starts carrying CBS programming on a subchannel sometime this month.

The whole issue sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen. Still, as a broadcast network, FOX has the right to only allow one FOX affiliate in a particular market, which in this case would be Biloxi, Miss.

Cable One really had no say in the matter, and in the end, viewers get shafted.

This is probably as good a time as any to invest in a good, reliable outdoor HD antenna.

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