Mediaweek reports that LIN TV (parent of local TV 8) has reached an agreement with Charter Communications that means Charter subscribers in West Michigan will get to see TV 8 programming.
It's interesting to ponder what might happen if the talks had broken down. The FCC has debated 'must carry' rules for years, although this debate was about whether and how much Charter should share revenue with LIN TV. Mediaweek reports the deal is only described as 'fair market value.'
A larger issue is whether a local TV station, particularly its news programming, is a commodity or a necessity for public information. That's particularly interesting if local viewers have other local stations to turn to. I suspect the argument emerging would be about whether people are customers of entertainment content or citizens seeking news content.
As for PR people who do media relations, the loss of TV 8 as an outlet (at least to Charter subscribers) would be interesting. Do you stop pitching 8 with as much energy knowing that other local stations would be reaching more viewers via all cable companies? Would the local PRSA chapter write a "friend of the court" brief to the FCC encouraging a quick mediated settlement to provide all local cable subscribers access to this local station, which provides over 30 hours of news programming per week?
In any event, I'm glad the agreement was worked out. I need the news, and the Olympics are coming on NBC.