Belo, owner of 19 TV stations, is forcing cable operators to pull local HD signals in several cities in a retransmission dispute.
Belo wants cable operators to pay a fee to carry local HD signals. The cable operators refused, saying signals should be free because they are available at no charge over-the-air.
Pulling the HD signals affects cable subscribers in Fort Worth, TX; St. Louis; New Orleans; Charlotte, NC; and Norfolk, CT.
In St. Louis, Jim Rothschild, director of operations at KMOV-TV, justified his station’s decision in an interview with the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch." He said Charter Communications, the local cable operator, has carried KMOV’s HD signal for three years at no cost.
Sharifah Williams, a Charter spokeswoman, said the cable company didn’t believe that its customers should have to pay extra for a signal that is transmitted for free and can be received over-the-air with a UHF antenna.