October 1st, 2012 at 2:44 pm by under News


Given the number of recent phone calls, emails and messages we’ve received about where our station is – and now is not – being carried, I thought I would try to explain the issues for everyone.

First, some background:

Industry-wide, the country is divided into 210 markets. The largest is New York City, with Glendive, Montana, the smallest. The Green Bay-Appleton market is the 69th largest, with about 445,000 television homes. Each market has defined boundaries. Our has 17 counties.

However, our market does not include Sheboygan County – which is in the Milwaukee market. And it doesn’t include Michigan’s Upper Peninsula beyond Menominee County.

Why is that important?

The Fox Network is enforcing contract language with companies that retransmit our signal – i.e. TimeWarner or Charter Cable – that only the affiliate for that market be provided on a channel lineup. As such, our signal has been removed from the channel lineups in those areas I mentioned, such as Sheboygan, where just WITI will be provided.

This is not something that is being done at our request, despite the claims of some providers. And we aren’t particularly pleased to losing some of our faithful viewers.

While the Fox Network programming may be the same on WLUK as it is on WITI, many other shows – particularly our newscasts, football shows and ‘Living With Amy’ – are unique to our station. If a cable company chose to carry our signal for our local programs, they would have to block out all the network shows that are duplicated from FOX – and cable companies typically do not provide a channel when they have to block out so many programs.

Viewers losing us through a cable or other provider could try to get our signal with an antenna, but we cannot guarantee success given the distances involved.

We would offer this advice, however: make sure to get an antenna that receives a VHF signal. As assigned by the FCC, WLUK’s broadcast signal is on Channel 11.1. The other stations in the market all use UHF signals (i.e. WBAY is on 23.1). Some stores sell antennae that only receive UHF, so that won’t help you trying to reach us.

Switching providers – such as from cable to satellite – won’t help, either.

The network is not “picking” on WLUK. In fact, we would expect that in Fond du Lac County – which is part of our market – that systems there will be seeing WITI removed from the lineup at some point in the near future for the same reason.

As for why the network would do this, it comes down to protecting the local affiliate within a select market.

If a viewer in Sheboygan County watches “American Idol” on WLUK and records that with Nielsen, we do not get ratings credit for it because it’s outside our market. And because that viewer didn’t watch WITI, they can’t get credit. So, the local affiliate doesn’t get any credit for a viewer that watched American Idol. With Fox 11 taken off the Charter system, now viewers there will have to watch WITI for American Idol – and the station and network will get the appropriate credit.

We know it may not make a lot of sense. The Sheboygan high schools are in a conference with the Green Bay schools, for example. Or maybe you just like our newscasts better. We thank you for that. However, in this case, we are the ones being caught in the middle.

You can still check out many of our stories and features at fox11online.com or through our Facebook page. We do not stream entire newscasts due to a variety of video rights issues.

We again want to offer our thanks to the viewers that we have served over the years.

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