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CBS might join Victoria Television Group lineup

By ALLISON MILES
July 14, 2011 at 2:14 a.m.


For more informationTo learn more about the Victoria Television Group, visit crossroadstoday.com

"Retransmission consent" vs. "must-carry" status:Must-carry stations are generally guaranteed carriage, but, if broadcasters invoke this right, they cannot demand compensation from the cable operator.

Retransmission consent may involve compensation from the cable company to the broadcaster for use of the signal.

Broadcast stations must decide between must-carry and retransmission consent every three years.

Source: Federal Communications Commission website's Fact Sheet on Cable Carriage of Broadcast Stations

DID YOU KNOW?There are multiple types of television service - traditional full-service stations and low-power stations. Here is some information on the latter:

The FCC introduced low-power television service in 1982 for locally-oriented television service in small communities.

Such stations sometimes tailor programming to specific viewer groups on basis of age, language, interest, etc.

The distance at which such low-power stations can be viewed depends on many factors, such as antenna height, transmitter power, transmitting antenna and the nature of the environment.

Low-power stations maintain "secondary spectrum priority" to full stations, meaning they may not cause interference to existing or future full stations' reception. They must yield to full stations when interference occurs.

When interference occurs between low-power stations and cable systems, the system or station that had initial use of the channel maintains first priority and is not responsible for correcting the interference.

Source: Federal Communications Commission online "FCC Consumer Facts" sheet

A CBS affiliate could soon join the ranks of the Victoria Television Group, and could mean more TV programs for viewers who don't subscribe to cable.

Negotiations are under way to bring the network under the umbrella of the Victoria company, which already owns rights to multiple networks, including ABC, Fox, NBC, Telemundo and Univision.

The deal is not final, a Victoria Television Group representative said Thursday.

Suddenlink Communications' programming department had not yet heard of a new affiliate, said Gene Ragan, Suddenlink's director of corporate communications, Thursday.

The cable company is required by law to have signed consent, Ragan explained, and could go about the deal in two ways.

The cable company could either enter into must-carry status, in which the TV station talks with Suddenlink and decides the cable company must carry the station, he said. Additionally, it could go with a retransmission consent agreement status, where Suddenlink arranges a contract with the TV station.

"As far as I know, we haven't heard anything about a CBS affiliate," he said. "At this point it's too early to really say much."

The switchover would mean advertisers could place local commercials on Victoria's CBS affiliate, instead of the current San Antonio spots that air, said Patrick Guerra, president of The Guerra Group, a Victoria advertising agency. Guerra said he meets with TV station representatives Friday to iron out advertising details.

"We're pretty jazzed about it," he said of the change. "I think it's going to be a real plus."

The only drawback is the lack of competition in the area, Guerra said.

In larger markets, media companies compete for the shared market with competitive pricing. Although Victoria's rates are fair, the cost per thousand remains somewhat high.

"Say there's 100,000 people in the Crossroads viewing area," he said. "In Houston there might be 5 million. That's 50 times the size of Victoria, but rates aren't 50 times as high."

With those calculations, Guerra said a $4,000 spot on Houston's 10 p.m. news should cost about $80 in Victoria. Those rates actually come to about $350, however.

"There's always pluses and minuses," he said of the purchase. "But most of it is good news."

Jeff Pryor, general manager of the Victoria Television Group, was out of the office and unavailable for comment Thursday afternoon.

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