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What Is KeepMyTV? The FUD-y Truth According to NAB

21 July 2014 3,800 views 13 Comments

The 60 million Americans who rely on free to broadcast television must pull together to stop satellite and cable TV’s illegal and immoral assault! They’re coming for our content, people, and KeepMyTV.org is hear to help!

So, first of all, KeepMyTV.org is an arm of the National Association of Broadcasters, an industry grouping of the people who broadcast free to air TV. This weekend, member stations started running this uninformative and somewhat fear mongering bit of spin:

More to the point, a pair of bills before Congress that could threaten the ever rising carriage fees broadcasters have been extracting from cable and satellite TV providers. According to Edwards Williams (consultancy), the bills under consideration “would change the rules governing the carriage of broadcast signals by cable and DBS providers.”

What’s that about? NAB and its regional affiliates (different than member stations) have published an accompanying set of talking points.

Fundamentally, KeepMyTV is about NAB and its members keeping the money they earn from advertising, currently tax deductible, and get from Congressionally mandated carriage fees. How does any of that threaten the free to air TV broadcasts?

Remember, NAB is the industry group which said that they’d end free to air television if Aereo won its case before the US Supreme Court. That, of course, would never have happened. Regardless, Aereo lost and that case was all about retransmissions fees.

KeepMyTV vs Pay TV: NAB vs Oligopoly

KeepMyTV doesn’t specify a threat and their “sample letter” to your US Senators in well nigh obtuse:

I urge you to reject efforts by the pay-TV lobby that could jeopardize my ability to receive local, broadcast TV channels.

The pay-TV lobby wants to give big cable and satellite TV companies the upper hand over local TV broadcasters, which could ultimately threaten free, local TV for 60 million Americans. It could also result in price increases for viewers who already subscribe to a pay-TV service by allowing cable companies to move local channels into a more expensive package.

Minority families, the elderly and rural populations disproportionately depend on free, local TV. These changes could impact those who can least afford it, yet heavily depend on local TV as a lifeline during emergencies.

My family depends on our local TV stations to keep us safe in times of crisis and to bring us the news, weather and community information we rely on each day and the network programs we love to watch.

Please don’t harm free, local TV

Golly, mister, don’t let ’em do it!

Is free to air TV under threat? Does KeepMyTV love us? Meh. An industry association of giant and ginormous corporations, aka NAB, is astroturfing up some grass roots support.

Regardless, my family doesn’t have and couldn’t afford cable or satellite TV — we love free TV. That said, with some hesitation, I rewrote and then signed KeepMyTV’s letter to my US Senators…

What’s your take?

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  • Tony T. said:

    Thanks for the clarification about the NAB being behind the KeepMyTv.org website. This is not explained on the that website and they do not provide links for additional information. You’d think a website that appears to be in the public interest would have plenty of links for folks to get more information and get involved.

  • crystal said:

    Hi I’m from martinsburg wv and as of July 31st the little bit of antenna channels I had they scrambled so I have no TV at all

  • TV Engineer said:

    Crystal, Over-the-air broadcasters cannot legally scramble their signal, nor would they want to. Their license is based on their providing free access to the public. If you have an antenna connected to a digital television, you can receive channels over the air. If you can’t receive a signal, the station may have changed its frequency. Go into your TV’s antenna channel scan and re-scan for channels.

  • J B said:

    I figured that there was more to it. I’m still not 100% clear, so I’ve bookmarked this for the AM. I’ve just recently cancelled my cable and am so pleased that I did. Expense wasn’t really even a factor, but paying to be aggravated doesn’t make very much sense.

    I’m still a kid I suppose but intentionally paying for nonsense was, well, nonsense. My self-esteem has already improved. 🙂

    It’s healthy if not necessary to have certain skepticisms.

    Thanks for the time, information and bandwidth,


  • Kit said:

    What about cable TV hijacking sports programming?

    In Seattle, ESPN has exclusive rights to all UW husky football broadcasts and Root Sports the same for the Mariners.

    Free TV has already been sold out to the cable! And where was the NAB when that happened?

  • the rocr (author) said:

    Taking a big fat cut for themselves…

  • Michael said:

    TV Engineer. When did they make over the air scrambling illegal? There were a lot of stations doing it in the ’70s and ’80s.


    I was a broadcast engineer for years, in both Radio & Television.

  • cathey said:

    I am a 75 year old retiree. The lower my income becomes the higher the cable bill gets. Please do not tamper with free TV, Thanks.

  • Russ said:

    For years we had has Sat TV. We realized that were watching the major networks most of the time that we could watch with our old antenna that had blown down in one of the major storms we get now and then. It seem that that the shows form the sat ran for about 4 months and then were repeated over and over again. I went to Radio Shack and picked up an antenna that would fit in my attic and we had plenty of local TV, so we canceled the cable and haven’t looked back.

    Around the same time I picked up a TV Tuner card for my computer and it was for UHF,VHF and also HDTV. There were a few local HDTV stations in the area that were in the testing stages before the big switch over and I was amazed how much better the picture was than cable had been. We’re now getting 38 HDTV channels where we live, even the Home Shopping network is on there. Several show older TV shows and some are only movie channels but the best part is: They are all free with better picture quality than cable or Sat.

  • Chuck said:

    We tried the satellite and after the contract ran out they jacked the price up and up till we could not afford it and we do not miss it. We like our old local stations. And you can only watch one channel at a time, so what does one need with 100 or more channels.

  • S.K. said:

    Looking at the KeepMyTV.org website right now, and it gives zero information about the campaign other than for us to “Take Action!” Not to say I’m against the NAB for this; my feeling is it’s important to have over-the-air TV in times of emergency (weather, natural disaster, etc).

  • bob b bob said:

    @SK Talking points are slippery, but if cable can unbundle local TV local TV is screwed, period.

  • Joan - Bob said:

    We live in Rural Upstate NY. There is no cable to connect to.
    Satelite is out of the question.

    We have always had an antenna.

    We bought a beautiful HDTV and a Digital Antenna. The picture is twice as clear as our friends have with cable.

    We get 18 stations. All the major networks.

    People just aren’t thinking and we live in a wasteful society.

    I believe most have cable for sports. What a waste of money!

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