There is a matter I would like to clear up once and for all, since I have been hearing it on a regular basis for some time now.
The Laurel/Hattiesburg coverage area, according to the latest Nielsen report in November, has 43% of the television households on a satellite provider service. It’s called local-into local in industry parlance.
Since, unlike the majority of the television markets in the nation, neither we nor WHLT are carried by the satellite providers such as Directv or The Dish Network, viewers who are not on cable have to pick us up over the air. The same is true for the coast stations WLOX and WXXV and the stations in Greenwood/Greenville in Mississippi. Jackson, Meridian, and Columbus/Tupelo have satellite coverage.
WDAM would very much welcome the opportunity to be carried by the satellite providers. Why would we not want to be on their system, just as we are on the cable systems? We get calls daily from satellite subscribers who want to be able to get their local stations on the satellite service they are paying for. Many of them tell us that they have been told by a satellite provider that we won’t let them put us on. I give you my word…that is definitely not the case. Quite the contrary, we have asked to be on and have lobbied our senators and congressmen to pass a law making carriage of the local stations by the satellite companies a must. We’ve also made our case to the FCC but they are more an enforcement body than a regulatory one.
So far we’re still not on satellite. There are a lot of small markets around the country in the same predicament. I heard yesterday that Congressman Stupak from Michigan is crafting a law that would make it mandatory for them to carry us. I urge you to please contact your congressman and both senators asking them to back this bill. Tell them you want your local stations on satellite. Help us serve you. Anything that makes it easier for you to get us as clearly as possible we’re all for. In the meantime, if you have the choice, you can get us on cable. That will be especially helpful after the Digital switchover. And never forget, we are free over the air…but it may take an antenna and converter box after the big switch.
I’m Jim Cameron with Seven On Your Side.