You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Tell Which Way the Cash Flows

& We woke up this morning to discover that a big media company named LIN Media has pulled the plug on the DISH satellite tv feed. They want DISH to pay them more money for the right to include their two New Mexico stations — one carrying CBS network programming, the other carrying FOX blather — on the DISH station lineup. So as of this morning, all of us DISH subscribers out here in rural America are just going to have to rely on NBC and ABC for our local programming — like the news and the weather and the sports (if you want to call them that.)

KRQE, the CBS station that serves most of New Mexico, tells us on its web page that the squabble is over “pennies,” and it just can’t understand why the Scrooges over at DISH are being so stingy. But, as long as DISH refuses to pony up, says KRQE, they’re just not going to have anything to do with us people in rural America, they’re just turning off the lights and shunning the satellite. Sort of a “Piss on you people. You don’t pay, we don’t play. So go sit in the dark and shut up.”

From what I can tell, this is LIN’s approach to DISH subscribers all across the country. LIN owns local tv stations in 17 markets, all of them east of here and many of them serving what must be large rural markets, like New Mexico.

But there’s another side to the story. DISH says that the “pennies” in increases demanded by LIN amount to a fee hike of 175 percent. That would be an overnight increase to make even a gasoline gouger¬†drool. And it takes quite a bit to make the g-g gang drool anymore. They’ve gouged us so much they’re all drooled out.

I don’t know how many subscribers DISH serves in New Mexico, but I would expect that local advertisers might be thinking twice before they rush over to KRQE or KASA in Albuquerque to spend their ad dollars. Whatever the size of the market served by those two stations yesterday, it is substantially smaller today. Why would I want to spend my ad dollars at those stations? I’d also expect that the boyz and girlz in the boardrooms of CBS and FOX (do you think there is a lady in the FOX boardroom?) aren’t too happy about having lost all of that market share either. They’ve got to rely on advertisers, too, even after they put Charlie Sheen on waivers.

So what has LIN accomplished here, other than turning away a bunch of advertisers and pissing off a bunch of consumers? If anybody has that answer, please add it to the comment section, which you’ll find below.

DENOUEMENT: Like magic, a week after the LIN Media stations went black on the DISH discs, there was the signal, clear as a fine morning in New Mexico. No word, of course, on who blinked, just lots of thanks from LIN to the viewers of its stations for their great and wonderful and intelligent and loyal support, and from DISH to its subscribers for their great and wonderful and intelligent and loyal support. Funny thing: When the signal came back on these LIN stations — most of which are affiliated with CBS — it was only days before the opening rounds of the NCAA’s ballyhooed basketball tournament, which certainly must be one of the biggest annual moneymakers for CBS sports. It would have been a new brand of March Madness had LIN refused to turn on the tube for thousands of DISH subscribers, so I’m still betting that it was DISH that won this round.

As for the basketball tournament, I picked Louisville to win the championship. The boys lost in the first round. So as far as I’m concerned, LIN can go ahead and pull the plug again.

& I will have to admit that I’m going to miss weatherman Mark Ronchetti on the 10 p.m. KRQE news. Ronchetti is an nice ¬†young fella who gets really excited about his job. I have a nickname for him, which is “Cheeks,” because his cheeks are kind of a visual barometer — the worse the weather’s going to be, the more excited he gets, and the redder his cheeks get. By 10 p.m., I’ve usually nodded off a time or two, and have turned down the sound so as not to disturb my sleep. But I don’t need the sound turned up when Cheeks is rattling on about the weather. All I need to do is look at the picture and the color of his cheeks. If they are really red, I know I need to turn the sound up, because something bad is heading our way, I can guarantee it.

& There’s another way I can get the weather, thanks to my good friend Larry Thomas, who sends along these instructions:

Tie a string to a rock and hang it up on the patio.
If the rock is wet, it’s raining.
If the rock is swinging, the wind is blowing.
If the rock casts a shadow, the sun is shining.
If the rock is dry and does not cast a shadow, the sky is cloudy.
If the rock is white, it is snowing.
If the rock is coated with ice, there is a frost.
If the ice is thick, it’s a heavy frost.
If the rock is bouncing, there is an earthquake
If the rock is under water, there is a flood
If the rock is warm, it is sunny.
If the rock is missing, there was a tornado.

Or, if we were in Portland, Ore., we would determine the weather as follows:

If you can’t see Mt. Hood, it is raining.
If you can see Mt. Hood, it will soon rain.

And, in New Mexico, if Cheeks’s cheeks ain’t red, it’s a gorgeous day.

& Weathering it all as best I can, I’m outta here.


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