Thursday, December 31, 2009

Losing Channel 3 (WEAR-TV)

The corporate criminals at Sinclair Broadcasting are once again trying to stick up Mediacom for the "privilege" of carrying Pensacola's only local channel, WEAR-TV. It's not the first time.

As before, we don't see any good guys in this titanic corporate struggle over who gets how much profit from your eyeballs. The one thing that's changed over the past two years is that Pensacola's Channel 3 actually has gotten worse. Much worse. Local news coverage -- even excluding all the fake news we've mentioned before -- has sunk to levels that would embarrass Alabanian Television. Some evenings, there are no more than 12 minutes of news -- most of it inconsequential sensationalism -- sprinkled among 18 minutes of commercials. Studio production -- camera work, continuity, scripting, and editing -- is beneath execrable.

As it happens, two local friends were complaining to us just a week or two ago that they "can't bear to watch that station anymore." If anything, Sinclair should be paying Mediacom for the privilege of reaching the 95 percent or more of cable-wired American homes in the local TV audience.

As for ABC network programming, its love affair with so-called "reality" shows makes access to ABC network programming less valuable -- not more -- as James Wolcott documents. The vacuity of Sinclair's argument with Mediacom is evident when you look at the gun they're pointing at the heads of TV viewer hostages. "If the signal goes dark," PNJ reporter Louis Cooper parrots the corporate line, "local Mediacom customers would find themselves without ... ABC network shows like 'Dancing with the Stars' and 'Lost.'

Oh. My. God. Whatever would we do without those two gems to brighten our day?

Sinclair Broadcasting, of course, incessantly points out that its broadcast signal is "free." One supposes the implicit threat there is that if Mediacom doesn't pay for it, somehow you'll have to.
And, indeed, you will. Any way this corporate fight comes out.

But there's an even more deceptive side to that argument. You're paying for Channel 3's programming now, even if you get it over the air. As humorist Jason Love has written, "They say TV is free, but we pay for it every time we hum a jingle."

Look past the next two weeks of bowl games. After all, there are other outlets to witness those events -- including radio, where the pictures are a lot better.

Frankly, Mediacom would be doing local viewers a favor by dropping WEAR-TV. Then, you can do yourself and any children who might be around the house an even bigger favor by dropping your cable subscription, too.


Anonymous said...

Sinclair is not a fair player - they are extortionists using the BSC bowl game as leverage in negotiations with Mediacom. WEAR news is awful. Really awful. But they DON'T CARE!!! It would not be hard to maintain better production values. Last time Sinclair and Mediacom went at it I switched to DirectTV and so glad I did.

Anonymous said...

please take your inane ramblings and shove them. typical bumpkin blowhard.

Anonymous said...

that blowhard is right channel 3 sucks and they lie i have proof! also the weather they broadcast is never reliable! so there

Anonymous said...

I hope channel 3 gets booted off tv they dont report the news they report what the powers that be tell them to wich is not reporting the news they are robots !!!! hope they get canned!