CBS boss Les Moonves told a crowd at an investor conference recently that if CBS affiliates don’t share re-transmission fees they get from cable and satellite providers the network would consider dropping them!
“We will find some other way into that market”, said Moonves.
WFOR is of course owned by CBS, but Palm Beach affiliate WPEC is not. They’re owned by Freedom Communications.If they aren’t doing it already, soon enough Freedom will have to split retrans fee revenue they get locally from Comcast, AT&T Uverse and the satellite providers if WPEC is to stay a CBS affiliate.
Local stations generally have two options when it comes to getting on cable and satellite. They either use their must-carry status granted by the FCC, or they choose to revoke it and enter negotiations with the local cable providers and ask for retransmission fees.
When in 2002 CBS decided to stop paying affiliates to carry the network, Post-Newsweek balked and made then Jacksonville, FL affiliate WJXT independent.
Moonves cited this saying “We ended the affiliation, they went from #1 to #5, we put CBS on the UPN market at the time and it became #1 where it remains to this day. So there are other alternatives”.
/source: Jacksonville.com: A Swipe at WJXT/