Several small cable systems in Macon, Ga., have dropped CBS affiliate
WMAZ-TV, which was demanding payment for carriage, in a retransmission-consent
Valley Cable TV Inc. of Fort Valley, Ga.; Forsyth CableNet of Forsyth, Ga.;
and Charter Communications Inc. are among the systems that have deleted WMAZ
after their retransmission-consent deals with the broadcaster expired Dec.
WMAZ, based in Macon, had been seeking fees of 75 cents per month, per
subscriber, this year from local cable operators, escalating to 85 cents in 2004
and $1 in 2005, according to Robert Barnes, vice president of operations for
"The issue is that we are not going to pay them for carriage," Barnes said.
"We're extending their coverage area."
At Watson Cable, vice president Tom Watson said he and WMAZ have agreed to a
60-day extension to continue negotiating. But as far as paying cash for
carriage, he and several other local operators noted that if his system pays one
TV station, it will have to pay all of the others in the market, too, since they
have "me-too" clauses in their retransmission-consent deals.
Officials at WMAZ, which is owned by Gannett Co. Inc., couldn't be reached
for comment Thursday. And Charter officials couldn't be reached for comment.
Forsyth CableNet is municipally owned, and it felt that it could not ask
subscribers to bear the cost of paying WMAZ for carriage, according to system
manager Dennis Rolling.
"I'm going to be doing a video spot explaining what happened," he
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